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Full text of "The Populist movement in Georgia; a view of the "agrarian crusade" in the light of solid-South politics"

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Cornell University Library 

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The Populist movement in Georgia; a view 



3 1924 014 468 577 




Cornell University 
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tine Cornell University Library. 

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Hate (Eollege of Agriculture 
At Qlnrnell ImuerBity 



1 

THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA 



STUDIES m HISTORY, ECONOMICS AND PUBUC LAW 

EDITED BY THE FACULTY OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 

Volume CIV] [Number 1 

Whole Number 236 



THE POPULIST MOVEMENT 
IN GEORGIA 

A View of the "Agrarian Crusade" in the 
Light of Solid-South Politics 



ALEX MATHEWS ARNETT, Ph.D. 

ProfeiBor of Sitiory in Furman Univereity 

Sometime Instructor in Hittory 

Columbia University 




NfUJ |3ork 
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 

SELLING AGENTS 

Niw York : Longmans, Gkeen & Co. 

London : P. S. King & Son, Ltd. 

1922 



Copyright, 1922 

BY 

ALEX MATHEWS ARNETT 



PREFACE 

In this study of the causes, manifestations, and results 
of the Populist movement as they have appeared in Georgia, 
the writer has been more intent upon illustrating some of 
the main currents of American life in the past fifty years 
than upon presenting a fragment of state history. It was 
a nation-wide movement. Indeed its fundamental causes 
were to some extent common to the industrialized world, 
though in large measure its problems were peculiar to the 
United States. They presented different aspects in dif- 
ferent sections of the country and in particular localities. 
Such variations affected the course and the results of the 
movement, nationally as well as locally. These must needs 
be considered at close range before a true perspective of 
the whole can be gained. Hence the present study. 

Doubtless, if the truth were known, the writer was led 
to select Georgia as a special field because of the natural 
ties of birth and rearing, and then rationalized his choice 
as a good one on the grounds that the Southern phases of 
the movement had formerly received least attention from 
the historian and that Georgia offered a particularly fertile 
field for the study of these phases. The home of Tom 
Watson, the scene of some of the fiercest struggles between 
the " Bourbons " and the " wool-hat boys," often a strategic 
factor in Populist national councils, and typical in many 
ways of the Solid-South group of states, it seems well 
suited as a point of entree into the field of special investiga- 
tion on the subject. 

In the hope of avoiding the pitfalls of a nearsighted view 
7] 7 



8 PREFACE [8 

and of contributing more effectively to the development of 
a larger theme, the writer has frequently reminded him- 
self and his reader of the main outlines of that theme as they 
now appear. On a basis of the information which others 
have presented and of his own modest contributions, he has 
ventured upon tentative interpretation. He has sought to 
avoid dogmatism as well as bias, but has felt justified in 
entertaining a sympathetic attitude toward his subject; for 
in this way one is most likely, it seems, to gain a true ap- 
preciation of a great popular movement. 

Acknowledgments are gratefully made for the assistance 
of numerous friends and acquaintances. The largest debt 
is to Professor Benjamin Burks Kendrick. Of the recog- 
nized authorities in this general field, he was the first ap- 
pealed to for advice and has been the main source of in- 
spiration and practical aid through every stage of the work. 
Those who have known him as a teacher, and more espec- 
ially those who have enjoyed his personal friendship, can 
understand to some extent what this has meant. Professor 
William A. Dunning, whose great mind has guided so many 
similar tasks, has given much inspiration and some advice 
in the present one. Professor Carlton J. H. Hayes, though 
primarily interested in European rather than American his- 
tory, has had g^eat influence in broadening the writer's his- 
torical outlook. He has also read and helpfully criticized 
the greater part of the manuscript. Professor Charles A. 
Beard (formerly of the Columbia faculty) gave stimulating 
advice in the earlier stages of the work. Other members 
of the political science faculty at Colimibia, though they 
have contributed less directly to this study, are gratefully 
remembered for their influence. Senator Thomas K Wat- 
son of Georgia granted the use of his private collection and 
submitted cheerfully to several interviews. Miss Annie 
Bell Northen of Atlanta kindly gave access to the scrap- 



9] PREFACE 9 

books of her father, Governor W. J. Northen. Mr. Lucian 
Lamar Knight, superintendent of the Georgia state archives, 
was helpful in many ways. Judge James K. Hines, ex-Gov- 
ernor John M. Slaton, Mr. Qark Howell, and numerous 
others granted interviews. Miss Sarah Conley, of the Wes- 
leyan College faculty, assisted in the reading of the proof. 
The authorities and assistants in the various libraries in 
which the writer has worked have been very gracious ; none 
have been more so than Mrs. Maud Baker Cobb, Georgia 
state librarian. The writer would not close this note of ap- 
preciation without alluding to the great inspiration and aid 
which he has received from his father, Rev. H. J. Arnett, 
and his wife, Ethel Stephens Arnett. 

A. M. A. 
Columbia University, New York City, 
June 27, 1922. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 
The Regime of the "Bourbon" Democracy 

PAGE 

Introduction 15 

Significance oi the Populist Movement 15 

Southern aspects 18 

Elements in the Georgia Democracy, 1872-1889 23 

' ' Bourbons ' ' of the old school 23 

" Bourbons " of the new order 25 

Rumblings of dissent 33 

The rise of Independency 33 

The Granger wave 36 

The party split of the early eighties 38 

The triumph of regularity 42 

The Democracy enshrined 45 

Fife and drum 45 

The gospel according to Grady 47 

CHAPTER II 

The Basis of Agrarian Dissent 

In the toils of the creditor 49 

The rise of the "anaconda" mortgage 49 

The plight of its victims 53 

The sweep of its power 57 

The position of the middlemen 61 

At the mercy of the market 64 

Falling prices: vanishing profits 64 

Appreciating debts 67 

Those incorrigible railroads 68 

The burden of taxation 72 

The toad under the harrow 74 

II] II 



12 CONTENTS [I2 

FACE 

CHAPTER III 
' ' Embattled Farmers ' ' 

The rise of the Farmers' Alliance 76 

Spontaneous origins 76 

Business ventures jg 

Looking toward political action 81 

Diagnosis and prescription 82 

The St. Louis gathering 82 

Money and prices 85 

Money, credit, and the " Shylocks " 93 

The " sub-treasury " plan 95 

Other questions 97 

The ' ' yard-stick ' ' race in Georgia 99 

Let candidates stand by and be measured 100 

How rigid the test?— Northen vs. Livingston 102 

A state program 105 

Friends and foes among the old order 106 

A quarrel and a compromise no 

Dissenters, new and old: Congressional races 112 

The Alliance triumphant ; 116 

CHAPTER IV 
Blasting at the Solid South 

Old-party reform or third-party revolt? 117 

The record of the Farmers' Legislature 118 

The protest vote — South and West 122 

Is Ephraim joined to his idols? 124 

Principles or party? — Watson vs. Livingston 128 

A frenzied gathering 131 

The "protest" Congress 134 

Launching the campaign of 1892 135 

The oracles speak 135 

The Jeremiahs and a Moses 137 

The fight is on 143 

" Turn the rascals out! " 143 

" Stand by the old party! " 148 

The blacks to the front! 153 

The reckoning 155 



13] CONTENTS 13 



PACK 



CHAPTER V 
"The Heart-B rearing Nineties" 

Panic and depression 156 

The nadir of hard times 156 

Financial conditions, domestic and foreign 160 

Democracy's dilemma 164 

" Silver is the remedy: remonetize it! " 164 

" Silver is the trouble: renounce it! " 165 

Georgia's Democracy alarmed: the Northen-Cleveland corre- 
spondence 167 

Cleveland's struggle to maintain the gold standard 172 

Tariff reform attempted: another disappointment 175 

" Coxey's Army " and the Pullman strike 176 

The "blasts" of '94 178 

Under Populist fire 178 

Democracy answers 180 

"We had to do it!" 183 

CHAPTER VI 
The Party Revolotion of 1896 

Should Democracy turn Populist? 185 

The last stand of the " gold bugs " 185 

Fusion's promise 187 

" Populists should keep in the middle of the road" 189 

Realignment . 192 

Hanna's house party; McKinley and gold 192 

Bryan, Sewall, and silver 194 

Bryan and silver, but not Sewall 196 

" Popocratic " programs 201 

Where fusion failed to fuse 202 

A " Jonah- whale " proposition 202 

New "thunder ": prohibition 207 

No quarter 209 

The decisive " battle " of an era 210 

CHAPTER VII 

Aftermath 

The passing of the People's party; the leaven of Populism .... 212 

A period of reaction 213 

Prosperity returns— Providence to the rescue 213 



14 CONTENTS [14 

FACE 

" Back to the old landmarks " 214 

Exit " free silver " 216 

The Populist ship comes in 218 

The Smith-Howell campaign 218 

Deferred hopes are realized 221 

"Hoke and hunger: Brown and bread" 233 

The pendulum swings 225 

What of the night? 226 



CHAPTER I 
The Regime of the " Bourbon " Democracy 

The political storms of the eighteen-nineties will long re- 
main memorable in American history. The most turbulent 
in the modern era, they were also the most significant. 
Problems of a revolutionized economic life, long obscured 
by prejudice and outworn issues, were then for the first 
time pressed into the foreground of national politics. 
Forces of dissent which had formerly found expression only 
in minor parties or in more or less impotent factions of 
the old ones now culminated in the wider Populist revolt 
and the party revolution of 1896. 

The movement was primarily agrarian. Discontent, 
while affecting various elements of the population, was most 
widespread and most articulate among the farmers. The 
modern industrial and business expansion, though it had 
brought them unquestioned benefits, had not profited them 
in the same proportion that it had financial, commercial, and 
industrial interests; on the other hand, it had made them 
increasingly dependent upon the latter groups. Meanwhile 
their political fortunes had also declined. Having once en- 
joyed a prestige unsurpassed in the country and quite pre- 
eminent in a large portion of it, they naturally felt their 
fallen estate all the more keenly. Still numerically the 
largest group, if united in politics, they might be able to 
restore something of their former influence. The chief 
dbstacle, of course, lay in the fact that they were divided in 
their party connections ; those of the South being inflexibly 
IS] IS 



1 6 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [i6 

Democratic from tradition and local circumstance, and those 
of the North and West being largely Republican with almost 
equal strength. Thus divided, they had been unable to 
secure a standing in either party which seemed to the more 
thoughtful of them commensurate with the importance of 
their services to the country. Even in communities essen- 
tially agricultural, it seems that, largely by appeals to 
patriotism and prejudice, regimes had been maintained which 
were not always duly regardful of their interests.^ Local 
revolts, such as those which constituted the Granger move- 
ment, had achieved remarkable success for a time, and had 
accomplished some more or less permanent results in such 
matters as state regulation of railroads; but the enthusiasm 
of the farmers had generally waned after a brief period of 
ascendency.^ Similar movements national in scope had been 
less successful. Their energies had been divided between 
intra-party struggles and third party movements.' In the 
late eighties and early nineties times became harder for the 
farmers. It was one of those paradoxical situations in which 
wealth is produced on all sides in apparent superabundance 
and yet its producers find themselves in want. It seemed 
that the more bountifully the farmers brought forth the 
less they had to enjoy and the more hopelessly they sank in 
debt. Populism was the voice of their protest. 

Other elements were concerned, and many among them 
were eventually drawn into the movement. The relative 
scarcity of money and the often unreasonable exactions of 
creditors and their agents, together with the steady appre- 
ciation of the dollar and hence of all standing obligations, 

' Cf. Solon J. Buck, The Granger Movement, pp. 34-36, 80-81 ; also 
James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, chs. liii, Ixxii. 

'Buck, passim. 

'Ibid., pp. 80-81; also Fred E. Haynes, Third Party Movements, 
passim, esp. pp. 1-6, 51-65, 91-153. 



xy-^ THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY ly 

furnished a grievance to debtors in general. Some of the 
lesser business interests were likewise aggrieved by the dis- 
criminations and other unfair practices of railroads and 
trusts. Industrial labor, while chiefly concerned with im- 
mediate matters of wage reductions and unemployment, was 
not unaffected by the problems with which the farmers were 
wrestling; but it was divided in its attitude, especially to- 
ward the financial issues. Among these various groups, re- 
latively few, except in so far as the debtors were also 
farmers, supported the Populist ticket; but many of them 
were drawn into the Populistic wing of the Democratic 
party. 

Since the West and the South were preponderantly agra- 
rian and debtor, and since their business enterprises were 
more exclusively of the small, competitive type, they were 
more responsive to the radical doctrines. Charges that both 
the old parties had been controlled since the Civil War by 
the powerful business interests of the East came to be 
widely accepted in those regions. Hence the movement as- 
sumed a sectional as well as a social aspect. To be sure, 
the lines were by no means sharply drawn in either case. 
In all sections and among all classes, in addition to the usual 
party ties, there were naturally questions as to the expediency 
of proposed measures. The situation varied too in dif- 
ferent sections. In the East the farmers were more com- 
pletely dependent upon the prosperity of business in the 
neighboring cities, and hence took little part in any of these 
movements.^ The rapid progress of industrialization in the 
Northcentral States had relatively weakened the agricultural 
element there since the time of the Grangers; consequently 
that section offered a less fertile field for the Populists and 
became the storm center in 1896. The Middle West suf- 
fered from overexpansion, especially in the arid r^ions 

'C/. Buck, op. cit., pp. 3-9. 



l8 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [i8 

where settlers had been falsely encouraged by a series of un- 
usually favorable seasons, and from the prevailing tendency 
to confine attention too exclusively to a single crop/ In all 
the Western country the effects of falling prices and the 
exactions of loan agents, railways, and middlemen were 
heavily felt, and brought their harvest of discontent.^ In 
the South agrarian conditions were among the most unfor- 
tunate, and causes of political dissatisfaction were perhaps 
the strongest, though the peculiar race situation there made 
successful revolt most difficult. 

The loss of agrarian prestige was more marked in the 
South than in any other part of the country, partly because 
in that section there had been more to lose. Probably no 
other class of people ever dominated the economic, political, 
and social life of an American community more completely,^ 
or exerted a greater influence in national affairs, than did 
the farmers of the Old South.' Prosperity there was al- 
most wholly dependent upon them and the economic order 
largely subject to their control. A manufacturing class 
scarcely existed, and such bankers and merchants as there 
were to constitute a distinct business element were generally 
quite secondary in importance. In politics the agricultural 
class was easily supreme in the county seats * and the state 

'/6«f., pp. 7, 8; also J. W. Gleed in Forum, vol. xvii, pp. 217, et seq. 

'See Buck, pp. ^39. For another viewpoint, see EJdw. Atkinson, 
"True Meaning of Farm Mortgage Statistics," Forum, vol. xvii, pp.. 
310-325, May, 1894. 

•The contrast between the status of the Southern farmer as it ap- 
peared before the Civil War and again in the Populist era was force- 
fully presented by Professor B. B. Kendrick (Columbia) in a paper 
read before the American Historical Association in Washington, Dec, 
1920. (MS. copies in possession of Professor Kendrick and of Am. 
Hist. Assn. and will eventually be published in the annual report of 
the association.) 

'Exception might be made here in the case of a few urban communi- 
ties, but even in those the influence of the planter was powerfully felt> 



19] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 19 

capitals, and was not without a major share of influence at 
Washington. The standards of polite society emanated 
from the homes of the planters. Every agency of public 
opinion — ^preachers of all denominations, politicians of all 
parties, professors, journalists, and the rest — ^upheld their 
interests and ideals with the most remarkable unanimity. 
Certainly, the agricultural population was not a unit in all 
respects. Lines of social demarkation were rather distinctly 
drawn in the older communities of tidewater Virginia and 
South Carolina and in southern Louisiana; they were less 
clear in the piedmont regions ; and they quite disappeared in 
the great stretches of pine barrens and the wide mountain 
areas.^ In some states political divisions between the larger 
and the smaller farmers, and between sections in which 
these respectively predominated, were as old as colonial 
times. But in all matters in which the interests of the 
agricultural class as a whole were at stake there could be 
little question as to the issue locally or as to the attitude of 
their representatives at Washington. 

How greatly all this was changed! Although every in- 
terest in the South was caught up in the general debacle of 
the sixties, the farmers, both great and small, were most 
completely and most lastingly ruined. With capital so 
widely destroyed, credit naturally became the most urgent 
need of all groups. This was not a new problem, to be sure, 
but its pressure was infinitely multiplied. Like all agricul- 
tural communities since the rise of modern capitalism, the 
South had always been more or less dependent upon other 

' In the same paper, Professor Kendrick maintained that only a small 
part of the cotton belt had developed any marked' social distinctions. 
This contention was based upon rather wide personal investigation, and 
upon the facts that in by far the greater part of that region pioneer 
days were too recent and land too plentiful and cheap for a landed 
aristocracy to have developed. 



20 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [20 

parts of the country, or of the world, for credit, as for many 
of its supplies ; but at least in the generation preceding the 
war it had been able to maintain some degree of balance in 
such relationships: now its status. had fallen to that of a 
tributary province. Credit was obtainable only upon the 
most unfortunate terms, especially for the farmer. For 
thirty-odd years agricultural land was largely unsalable, and 
hence unacceptable as security; so that the iniquitous crop- 
lien system, described in the next chapter, was resorted to. 
While some such scheme seemed necessary imder the exist- 
ing circumstances, it was exceedingly onerous to the farmer 
and tended to place him completely in the power of the mer- 
chant or the broker. Even many of the large planters 
fell into the same plight. Some of the more progressive 
of them, and of their less prominent brethren, realized the 
greater opportunities in the business world and either left 
the farm or came to combine merchandise or some form of 
industrial activity with agriculture. The common observa- 
tion that the most ambitious and capable men of rural origin 
inevitably drift into the cities and towns applies with parti- 
cular force to the recent South. With the center of gravity 
thus shifting from country to town, it was natural that the 
powers which shape public opinion should follow. The 
transition was less rapid in some regions than others, but 
the shifting of emphasis among leaders of thought to the 
ideals of the business world was marked throughout the 
South. All this, to be sure, went with industrialization, 
which brought its incalculable benefits to the section as a 
whole; but many people undoubtedly suflfered injustice in 
the process, and unfortunately too, some of the better ideals 
of the Old South went down with the antiquated ones. 

Such changes were naturally reflected in politics. Much 
of the best talent had become interested in enterprises other 
than agriculture ; and politicians in general found it easier to 



21] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 21 

fall into line with the business man's regime. The one- 
party system simplified the matter of political control. So 
long as the memories of the despised carpetbag regime re- 
mained fresh and the debt of gratitude to the party which 
had " saved Anglo-Saxon civilization " retained its com- 
pelling force, with the presence of the negro as a legal voter 
still an apparent menace in case of division among the 
whites, the Democratic party would retain an enormous 
advantage.^ Hence it was only a matter of controlling a 
single machine. It would have been extremely surprising 
if politicians had not exploited this situation, and if the 
rising business groups had not found advantages in it. Not 
that every one who appealed to local tradition and the specter 
of returning negro domination, or who voted for state en- 
dorsement of doubtful railroad bonds or the extension of 
the lien-law machine or the leasing of convicts to unlimited 
services at seven cents a day, was consciously exploiting 
patriotism and prejudice.^ Many were doubtless entirely 
sincere in their feelings and honestly seeking to advance the 
best interests of state and country as they saw them. Some, 
like the backwoods farmer in the Georgia legislature who 
boasted ' that he was a " Bourbon Democrat," naively fell 
into the current spirit with no thought of forces operating 
beneath the surface of local and national politics. 

The unique political situation in the South lends particular 
interest to a study of the Populist movement as it appeared 
in that section. Solid-South politics are seen in the most 
crucial stage of their history. An uprising of the " wool-hat 

'C/. J. W. Garner, "Southern Politics since the Civil War" in 
Studies in Southern History and Politics, ch. xv ; C. A. Poe, " Suffrage 
Restriction in the South,'' A^. Amer. Rev., vol. clxxv, p. 534, et seq. ; and 
Mrs. W. H. Felton, Memoirs of Georgia Politics, p. 5. 

2 See infra, pp. 27-28; also Felton, pp. 5-9. 

•Jas. P. Harrison (editor), Georgia General Assembly, 1880-81, p. 55. 



22 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [22 

boys " against the " Bourbon oligarchy," the movement be- 
gan as a struggle to oust the latter from control of the 
" white man's party." and developed, in most of the states 
of that section, into a more radical revolt against the one- 
party system itself. While it failed to devide the white vote 
permanently into separate political camps, or even completely 
to break the hold of the conservatives, it split the Demo- 
cracy into factions which have since virtually amounted to 
parties within a party, and raised up a new type of leader- 
ship which has at least held its own with the old.^ Its ef- 
fects upon the political status of the negro are also im- 
portant. Temporarily accorded a prominence which he had 
not enjoyed since the days of the carpetbagger, he was 
generally granted " a free ballot " (often several of them) 
" and a fair count " ( sometimes in excess of the possible 
voting population).^ The situation thus produced was 
largely responsible for later efforts to accomplish his dis- 
franchisement.' In fact there is scarcely a phase of recent 
political history at the South which has not been profoundly 
affected by that movement. 

It was during the interval between the restoration of home 
rule in the seventies and the rise of dissent in the nineties 
that the " Bourbons " * established their system ; it was also 

'C/. W. G. Brown, Th^ Lower South, p. 256; and J. Holland 
Thompson, The New South, passim, especially, chs. iii and ix. 

* See infra, pp. 154, 183-184. 

^Ibid., pp. 220, 222; also C. A. Poe, op. cit.; and Melvin J. White, 
" Populism in Louisiana," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 
V, pp. 3-19- 

*The term Bourbon is employed in this chapter because of its wide 
usage, though its connotation is not altogether accurate. In so far as 
it suggests a ruling class, secure in power and essentially conservative, 
it is applicable; but implications that such an oligarchy was a planter 
aristocracy, or that it was irrevocably wedded to a past order of things, 
are not accurate, at least in the case of Georgia; as will appear in the 
following pages. 



23] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 23 

during that time that cleavages appeared in the Southern 
Democracy which largely conditioned the alignments of the 
latter decade. Hence to that era one should turn for an un- 
derstanding of the forces which controlled the Democratic 
party in a Southern State, and those which formed the 
nucleus of dissent when Populism arose. 

Probably too much importance has been attached to the 
fact that many of the ante-bellum leaders remained pro- 
minent in the politics of the South after the war, if from 
this the inference be drawn that they were still dominant 
and, at the same time, representative of the formerly ascend- 
ant interests. At least, such an inference is not warranted 
in the case of Georgia. Familiar faces indeed appeared in 
the new gatherings, but either their glances were less com- 
pelling or their countenances had changed. 

Of the famous ante-bellum triumvirate, Stephens and 
Toombs survived,^ the former until 1883 and the latter until 
1885 ; but they were no longer at the helm.^ Together they 
were drawn into a losing struggle for control of the state 
Democracy within a year after its return to power. They 
were opposed to fusion with the Liberal Republicans, partly 
because of their opposition to Greeley and to what they re- 
garded as a sacrifice of principles, and partly because such 
fusion locally involved a sort of compromise with the former 
scalawag element, who were distasteful to them, as will 
appear later, upon other than sentimental grounds. They 
fought this " New Departure," first in the state convention : 
when the chairman of that body announced the Georgia 

'Cobb had died in 1870. (I. W. Avery, History of the State of 
Georgia from 1850 to 1881, p. 454.) 

'See Johnston and Brown, Life of Alexander H. Stephens, chs. xli, 
xlii ; U. B. Phillips, Life of Robert Toombs, pp. 264-273 ; L. L. Knight, 
History of Georgia and Georgians, vol. ii, pp. 885, 868-869, 885-888, 
926, 937- 



24 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [24 

delegation to Baltimore, Toomlbs exclaimed, " Packed, by 
God ! '.' — and they carried the contest to the people. Steph- 
ens purchased an interest in the Atlanta Sun, became its 
political editor, and with Toombs' support, waged a daily 
war upon the regulars.^ They were able, however, to swing 
only some 4000 votes to O'Connor (presidential candidate 
of the anti-fusion Democrats). Stephens paid for this re- 
volt a year later by the loss of the U. S. Senatorship, in a 
contest which turned largely upon the question of regularity. 
He entered the campaign with the public declaration that 
either he or the New Departure would die politically in 
Georgia : General John B. Gordon, a regular and one of the 
newer type of Bourbons, was elected. Stephens' district 
then sent him to Congress, where he remained until 1882.^ 
Meanwhile he seems to have had little connection with the 
state machine, and to have been more or less in sympathy 
with the independents.' When apparently on the point of 
becoming the candidate of the latter groups for the gover- 
norship in 1882, he was persuaded in the name of harmony 
to accept the regular nomination, and thus ibecame an in- 
strument for temporarily cementing a long threatening 
crevice in the " solid " Democracy of the state.* Toombs in 
the meantime was generally at odds with the dominant group 
in the Democratic party, both state and national. He de- 
nounced the latter as a " fraudulent coalition," bent only 
upon spoils, and also expressed sympathy with local inde- 
pendency. He was especially alarmed at the rising power 

'Avery, pp. 501, 502; Johnston and Brown, pp. 505-518; Knight, 
vol. ii, p. 668. 

' Avery, p. 505 ; Johnston and Brown, pp. 517, 519, et seq. \ Knight, 
vol. ii, p. 873. 

* Correspondence of Stephens, Toombs and Cobb, p. 721; Felton, 
pp. 298-299, 345-3:70, 394-395- 

* 'See infra, p. 44. 



25] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 25 

of associations of capital, which, though necessary in the 
new age, presented, he thought, " new dangers to free re- 
presentative government." ^ Only once in his later years 
did he rise to something like his former greatness ; and that 
was in the Constitutional Convention of 1877, where after 
a bitter struggle he secured provisions for state regulation 
of railroads and against their future abuse of the public 
treasury.^ His famous gibes were often hurled at the new 
leadership. Informed on his deathbed that the Georgia 
legislature was in session, he murmured, " Lord, send for 
Cromwell!"' 

Among this older group of statesmen, Joseph E. Brown 
was more powerful. While sadly fallen in popular esteem 
for a time because of his reconstruction record, he became 
the " hidden power " during the seventies, emerged in the 
eighties as a member of the new triumvirate, and on into 
the nineties remained a dominant figure.* Against him and 
his political and business associates were hurled many 
attacks of the independents in this era, and of the Populists 
later. If the story of his life were fully known it would 
probably throw more light upon the history of Georgia in 
his day than would that of any other person. He was one 
of those self-made men, not unknown in other sections, who 
rose from backwoods poverty to political preferment and 
remarkable business success. His humble origin together 
with his well-poised and vigorous personality appealed to 
the plain people and won him a place in the state senate in 

^Correspondence, pp. 721, 722, 727; Felton, pp. 250-258, 371-372; 
Knight, vol. ii, pp. 867-869, 885-888. 

'Knight, pp. 885-887. See also infra. 

•Pleasant A. Stovall, Life of Robert Toombs, p. 374; also Corres- 
pondence, pp. 721, 722. 

'Herbert Fielder, Life of Jos. E. Brown, p. 505; Avery, pp. 553, 563; 
Felton, p. 69. 



26 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [26 

1849, ^t the age of twenty-eight. He was advanced to the 
governorship in 1857, again chiefly by the small farmer vote. 
He retained that post until the close of the Civil War. An 
able administrator, he showed particular ability in the 
management of the Western and Atlantic railroad, owned 
and operated by the state. He was greatly interested in the 
railroad situation, and became one of the leading advocates 
of state aid. The policy of direct government construction 
had been replaced in the fifties by that of encouragement to 
private corporations in the form of tax exemption and state 
subscription to their stock. Governor Brown in his first 
message sought to induce the legislature to extend further 
assistance by the endorsement on the part of the state of 
private railway bonds, but his persistent efforts failed to 
elicit a favorable response. Such a scheme, if wisely and 
honestly carried out, might have proved desirable; but, as 
amply demonstrated during the reconstruction era and even 
under the restored Democracy, it " opened the floodgate of 
fraud and demoralization." Of such bonds endorsed during 
the former period, some $4,450,000 worth were later de- 
clared fraudulent and repudiated.^ The extent to which 
Brown was implicated in these and other scandals of that 
era is still an open question. To sum up his known record 
during the time: he advocated the acceptance of radical re- 
construction (perhaps wisely under the circumstances) j 
became a Republican temporarily; was appointed chief 
justice of the state by the Bullock administration; was at 
least closely associated with the chief beneficiaries of the 
financial policies of that corrupt government; and, finally, 
headed the company which secured a lease of the state road, 
by means later shown to have been irregular, from the dying 

' Avery, passim, especially pp. 6, 16, 31-46, 70-72, 129, 168, 49S-497. S94 : 
Fielder, especially pp. 91-92, 131-141 ; Phillips, p. 171 ; Mildred Thomp- 
son, Reconstruction in Georgia, ch. ix. 



2y] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 27 

Bullock '- legislature after its Democratic successor had been 
elected/ When the new body convened an effort was made, 
under Toombs' direction, to break the lease. While the 
majority report of the investigating committee revealed un- 
doubted crookedness both in the securing of the lease 
and in the formation of the company, it was not broken.* 
Such questions as that of the disposal of this road, and 
those of state aid and regulation were destined often to re- 
appear in subsequent times. 

Brown became one of the leading railroad men of the state 
and a prominent promoter and manager of other enterprises. 
He was at one time president of the Western and Atlantic, 
the Southern Railway and Steamship Company, the Dade 
Coal Company, the Walker Coal and Iron Company, and 
was part owner of the Rising Fawn Iron Works. His 
mineral interests covered the greater part of several coun- 
ties.* In connection with these, another issue arose which 
remained prominent through the Populist era and until its 
settlement in more recent times. It had reference to the 
leasing of the state convicts to individuals and corporations. 
The practice had arisen soon after the war, when for the 
first time considerable numbers of negro convicts had ap- 
peared, along with the fewer whites. It was felt that the 
state was too impoverished to maintain them in idleness, and 
for some reason they were not employed upon public works. 
The bulk of them became the working force of the Dade coal 

' Rufus B. Bullock was the " carpetbag " governor of Georgia. 

'Avery, pp. 336, 367-400, 406, 477-492; Fielder, chs. ix, xiii; Felton, 
pp. 66, 72; Thompson, Reconstruction, pp. 172-173, 229-254. 

'Thompson, Reconstruction, pp. 247-254; Report of the Majority of 
the Joint Committee Appointed by the General Assembly to Investigate 

...the Lease of the W. ■&■ A. Ry 1872; Felton, pp. 612^3, 68-78; 

Letter by Toombs in Atlanta Sun, Jul. 11, 1872 (Copy in Avery, 479). 

* Avery, p. 606; Fielder, pp. 488-489, 495, 503. 



28 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [28 

mines, of which Brown was at first sole proprietor and later 
half owner. For their services the state received $20 per 
year each, or less than seven cents per working day, the latter 
being limited to ten and twelve hours until the legislature in 
1876 removed even those limits. The conditions under 
which they lived and worked remained matters of public 
shame and protest until the system was abolished in igoS.'^ 

Personally, Brown had many admirable qualities, and 
deserves great credit for his contributions to the develop- 
ment of his state and section. He was thoroughly temper- 
ate and devoutly religious, a pillar in the Baptist church, and 
widely benevolent. As early as 1880 he is said to have 
contributed well over a hundred thousand dollars to various 
religious, educational, and charitable institutions. He 
established a fund of $50,000, the interest from which was 
to be used for the education of promising poor boys at the 
University of Georgia.'' Such qualities and activities, along 
with his wide business connections and the momentum of 
his earlier popularity with the plain people, gave him a pres- 
tige which largely overcame the cries that he had sometimes 
stooped to questionable means. 

He seems to have retained an especially strong hold upon 
the former supporters of the Bullock administration. These 
had established more or less important business and political 
connections from which they derived a certain prestige. 
Some, like Brown, had returned to the Conservative, or De- 
mocratic, party even before the Radical government col- 
lapsed ; others reentered at the time of the fusion with the 
Liberal Republicans in 1872. Probably many of them had 

'Report of Investigating Committee on Convict Lease, Ga. Leg., 1908, 
in Ga. Laws, 1908, pp. 1059-1091 ; Report of the Proceedings of the Con- 
stitutional Convention of 1877, PP- 434. 440-44I ; Knight, vol. ii, p. 866 ; 
Fielder, pp. 488, 489; Felton, p. 48; Ga. Laws, 1908, p. 11 19. 

•Fielder, pp. 91-92, 256-292; Avery, pp. 5-8; Knight, vol. ii, p. 918. 



29] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 29 

'been entirely innocent of the frauds and other scandals which 
had stained the reputation of the group as a whole. There 
seems to have been a feeling, however, among such old- 
timers as Toombs, and such independents as Felton,^ that 
the coalition of this " Bullock Democracy " with the rising 
business-minded conservatives was inimical to popular in- 
terests.^ 

The second member of the new triumvirate — ^though he 
became probably the first in influence — ^was one of those 
leaders whom the war had brought into prominence. Re- 
garded as the most brilliant soldier that the state had pro- 
duced, characterized by the London Times as " the rising 
military genius of the Southern armies," General John B. 
Grordon became to Georgians the veritable embodiment of 
all that was sacred in the Lost Cause. Returning from Ap- 
pomattox, where according to the editor of the Atlanta 
Constitution, he had been " the second figure to Lee in the 
dismal glory " of that closing scene, he became the leader 
of the anti-reconstructionists and is said to have been the 
central figure in the Ku Klux Klan. Handsome, genial, and 
chivalrous, he had all the appearances of a cavalier, but he 
was not a planter-aristocrat. Like Brown, he represented 
the rising commercial and industrial spirit, and became one 
of the leading promoters of railroads and other corporate 
activities, though, being always a " simon pure," he com- 
manded a somewhat different political following." He was 
thus another of those statesmen, so prominent in his day, 
who combined a laudable desire to advance the common weal 
with large personal ambitions. On the whole such men in 

'See infra. 

•Articles by Stephens and Toombs in Atlanta Sun, July^ct., 1872 
(in Carnegie Library, Atlanta) ; Felton, pp. 7-10, 62-66, 141, 161, 288, 289. 

• Avery, pp. S06, 264 313, 323, 390; Knight, vol. iv, p. 1850; Corres- 
pondence of Stephens, Toombs and Cobb, p. 727. 



30 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [30 

Georgia were doubtless no less honest and public-spirited 
than their prototypes in other sections. Well rewarded with 
business success and often with political preferment, they 
still deserve large credit for the part which they played in 
the industrial advancement of their state and section. 

While he was in the Senate, Gordon became involved in 
the famous Huntington affair and other Western railway 
projects. Although he was perhaps innocent of any con- 
scious complicity in matters of actual corruption, he left a 
record which was regarded by some as incriminating and 
was used against him politically by those who dared oppose 
him in his home state. The New York World observed 
that " a careful examination of the [Huntington] letters 
shows that. . . . Senator Gordon of Georgia, who posed 
as the representative of everything that was highly respec- 
table in the South, was a servant of the corporations." 
Some of the Georgia weeklies vainly called for an explana- 
tion of his connection with these matters, but the dailies of 
the state seem to have regarded the whole affair as unim- 
portant.'^ 

General Alfred H. Colquitt, third member of the new, 
triumvirate, was the one planter-aristocrat among the 
leaders of the first magnitude in this era. Heir to the 
political and social prestige, along with the broad acres, of 
his distinguished father, Walter T. Colquitt, and a graduate 
of Princeton, he had received every advantage that culture 
and wealth could afford. He entered the state senate with 
Brown in 1849, went to Congress as a States' Rights man in 
1853, supported the secession movement in i860, and dis- 
tinguished himself as a brigadier general during the Civil 
War. Like Gordon, unstained with scalawagery, he re- 

'He introduced the Sinking Fund bill in this connection (Congres- 
sional Record, 44th Cong., 2nd Sess., p. 589). See excerpts from the 
press, correspondence, etc. in Felton, pp. 79-143. 



31 ] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 31 

mained a leader of the " simon pure." As a planter he was 
one of the few who weathered the storms of the sixties and 
continued the plantation system without extreme difficulties 
in matters of labor and credit. He was for a while very 
near the first among Georgia planters both in the size and 
in the yield of his estate, raising, among other products, 
almost a thousand bales of cotton annually. Most of his 
former slaves remained with him after freedom and are said 
to have regarded him with something akin to worship. In 
addition to his agricultural interests, he was a successful 
business man — for a time a railway promoter. Thus able 
to retain a large degree of financial independence even in 
times of greatest depression among farmers, he belonged to 
that relatively small group of planter-business men, described 
in the next chapter, whose interests differed in important 
particulars from those of the average farmer.^ 

Either Colquitt or Gofdon held the governorship of 
Georgia during the major part of the interval between 1872 
and 1890; either Gordon or Brown held one of the U. S. 
Senatorships throughout the period, and Colquitt held the 
other after the expiration of his term as governor in 1882. 
Of all the governors, with the single exception of Stephens 
who served for only a few months, none was personally re- 
presentative of the interests of the small or the middle-class 
farmers, and only Colquitt represented the planters.^ The 
same was true of the Senators.* Among the Congressmen, 

'Knight, vol. v, pp. 2667-2669; Avery, pp. 17, 25, 635; Georgia's Gen. 
Assy., 1880-81, o/>. cit., pp. 1-7. 

•Jas. M. Smith, 1872-76, was a Columbus lawyer (Avery, p. 466). 
Colquitt served 1876-82; and Stephens, Oct., '82-Mar., '83. Henry D. 
McDaniel, '83-86, was merchant, lawyer, railroad director and banker 
(Knig-ht, vol. iv, pp. 2038, 2079). Cordon served 1886-90. See Lawton 
B. Evans, History of Georgia, pp. 3IS-33S- 

• Norwood and Hill, the remaining Senators elected after the Democrats 
regainedi control of the legislature, were lawyers of Savannah and 
Atlanta respectively. (Biographical Congressional Dictionary.) 



32 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [32 

thirty were lawyers, business men, or both; three were plan- 
ters ; and one was a combination of small farmer, physician, 
and Methodist preacher.^ Even in the state legislature, 
drawn from counties some ninety-odd per cent of which 
were everwhelmingly agrarian, the farmer remained an ap- 
parently diminishing minority. Collected biographical 
sketches of the membership in both houses in 1871-72, and 
again in 1880-81, are available, showing the occupations of 
c.88 per cent of the former and c.84 per cent of the latter. 
Of those whose occupations are thus given, some 42 per cent 
in the former body and 25 per cent in the latter appear as 
farmers with no other interests stated; some 48 per cent in 
the former and 38 per cent in the latter appear as interested 
both in farming and in other activities.^ Specific data are 
wanting for the late eighties, but according to the testimony 
of men who were active in political life at the time, their 
relative numbers, at least, did not increase. 

Thus the new Bourbon regime in Georgia was essentially 
a business man's regime. To a greater or less extent this 
was doubtless true of other Southern states. Whether there 
had been a deliberate plan among reconstructionists, as some 
have believed, to complete the abasement of agrarian power 
at the South in order to insure the permanence of industrial, 
financial, and commercial ascendency in the nation, gained 
during the war ; their policies at least tended to produce such 
results.' Of course the prosperity of these interests in the 
South was still largely dependent upon agriculture (probably 
to a greater extent than was realized in those years) ; but it 
was also dependent upon bankers and merchants of the East, 
and this fact, it seems, was more pressingly felt. Besides, 

'Compiled from Biographical Congressional Dictionary. 
•A. S. Abrams, Manual of the State of Georgia, 1872; Jas. P. 
Harrison', editor, Georgians Gen. Assy., 1880-81 (both in N. Y. Pub. Lib.) 
•See, e. g., A. M. Simons, Social Forces in American History, ch. xxiii. 



33] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 33 

the industrial and commercial advancement of the New 
South aroused a merited enthusiasm in that section, which 
tended to push aside those who claimed to have a grievance. 
Then too, Southern politicians must have seen the advantage 
of maintaining harmonious relations with their powerful 
brethren in the East. Hence it is not difficult to understand 
why the former came to accept the hegemony of the latter. 

Opposition to such an alliance, and to the local leadership, 
methods, and ideals of the organized Democracy was more 
or less ominous in Georgia for a decade or more after its 
accession to power. Aside from the wrangles within the 
party organization already alluded to, an Independent move- 
ment arose in 1874 which for a time seriously threatened a 
permanent division in the white vote. This movement was 
in many respects a forerunner of Populism. The underly- 
ing causes of the two were essentially the same, though econ- 
omic matters were, on the whole, less emphasized in the for- 
mer case and were probably less widely appreciated. The 
leadership and following of the two were also identical to a 
considerable extent, especially in the northern part of the 
state. 

It was in this section that Independency first appeared. A' 
region of small farmers, for the most part isolated and 
primitive, and always strongly opposed to any " ruling class," 
it offered fertile soil for the spread of opposition to the town 
politicians.'^ The percentage of negroes was too small for 
appeals to the necessity of white solidarity to carry the same 
force as in other parts of the state. Outside a few of the 
larger towns such as Athens and Rome, social conditions and 
standards were too crude for the masses to place much value 
upon that type of respectability to which unfailing sup- 
port of the regular Democracy was elsewhere regarded as 
essential. While the great majority had supported the 

'Avery, p. 512; Felton, passim. 



34 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [34 

Southern arms during the war, most of them had formerly 
opposed secession and scmie had remained Unionists in de- 
fiance of state and Confederate governments ; ^ hence not 
even the fetishism associated with the party which had bat- 
tled for Southern rights was quite as widely effective as it 
was where planter and urban influences were stronger. 

The revdit began in the seventh Congressional district, 
covering the western half of the mountain area. The De- 
mocratic convention there nominated for Congress in 1874 
L. N. Trammell, a so-called Bullock Democrat. There was 
widespread objection both to the candidate and to the method 
by which he was chosen. It was urged that under the 
convention system, especially with no effective party of op- 
position, the entire political life of the state was dominated 
by a centralized machine, directed from Atlanta and operat- 
ing through local " court-house rings." The Atlanta clique 
was said to have selected Trammell largely through the in- 
fluence of Brown. The latter, it was claimed, in addition 
to the sources of power mentioned above, controlled the 
vote of employees on the W. & A. road which traversed the 
district, and granted passes over it to politicians who met 
with his approval. Whether it were true that Brown and 
his followers had made secret deals with the Gordon-Colquitt 
group, it seems to have been widely believed.* 

Against the organization candidate. Dr. William H. 
Felton, the archinsurgent of this era and a leader of the 
Populists later, came out as an independent Democrat.' Dr. 

^Georgia's General Assembly, 1880-81, op. cit., p. 47; Avery, chs. xiv, 
XV, xxvi, xxviii, especially pp. 256-257, 261 ; also Thompson, Recon- 
struction, pp. 34-36. 

'Felton, passim, especially pp. S-io, 144-145; also cf. Avery, pp. 511- 
512. Local primaries were sometimes held in these years, but they 
seem to have amounted to little. 

'Avery says that Felton announced himself as an Independent 
candidate prior to the regular nomination, opposing the convention 
system on general principles (512). Cf., however, Felton, p. 144, et seq. 



35] THE " BOURBON " DEMOCRACY 35 

Felton was an indomitable fighter — wirey, bold, and highly 
enthusiastic. Bom in Oglethorpe county in 1832, graduated 
from the University of Georgia and from the State Medical 
College, he was a combination of farmer, country doctor, 
and Methodist preacher. He received invaluable aid from 
his wife, a woman of unusual ability and energy, who seems 
to have managed his campaigns. With almost no financial 
backing, and with the active opposition of all the newspapers 
except two small-town weeklies, he launched upon a cam- 
paign which gave to his district the name of the " bloody 
seventh." Usually traveling in his buggy, he attracted large 
crowds from the country-sides to applaud his fiery attacks 
upon the " supreme caucus," the " court-house rings," and 
the " the developers of resources." Early in the race he 
disclosed certain " suppressed " testimony, taken by a com- 
mittee of the legislature, which connected Trammell with 
some of the fraudulent-bond transactions of the Bullock 
regime. Trammell, deserted by many of his former sup- 
porters, then retired from the contest. A hastily summoned 
convention presented another nominee, but it was too late 
to save the election. Felton was reelected in 1876 and again 
in 1878.^ To what extent he led his hearers into the 
mysteries of free silver, the national banking system, trusts, 
and the like is difficult to say; but his Populistic tendencies 
along these lines clearly appear in his speeches in Congress.* 
Meanwhile in the ninth district, comprising the eastern 
half of the mountain section, Emory Speer, running as an 
Independent Democrat, defeated the regular nominee in 
1878 and again in 1880. Speer was a more polished man 

•Knight, vol. ii, pp. 875-876; Avery, pp. 511, 513; Felton, pp. 12-20, 
144-182. 

' Congressional Record, 4Sth Cong., ist Sess., vol. vi, pp. 403-405; 
ibid., 3rd! Sess., vol. viii, pp. I35S-I357; Hid., 44th Cong., 1st Sess., 
vol. ix, pp. 1731-174, 616; ibid., vol. x, pp. 443, 1482. 



36 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [36 

than Felton, and was somewhat more conservative; but he 
was supported with almost equal enthusiasm by the farmers 
and some of the townspeople, and usually stood for the 
same principles as Felton in Congress. Thus by 1878 the 
movement had triumphed in Congressional elections in about 
a fourth of the state. More or less similar disaffection had 
split the usual Democratic vote in two other districts and 
was developing considerable opposition to the Colquitt ad- 
ministration.^ 

Among these dissenting groups in Georgia, the influence 
of the Grange organization was apparently less potent than 
among contemporary insurgents in the North and West; 
yet it seems to have exerted considerable pressure as an un- 
dercurrent making for class consciousness among farmers 
and directing their attention to politico-economic problems.^ 
Its spirit was particularly manifest in the movement for state 
regulation of railroads which culminated in the Constitu- 
tional Convenution of 1877. Probably the influence of men 
like Toomibs, however, was quite as important in this affair 
as that of the Grangers. Occurring midway between the 
fall of the one and the rise of the other, it represented in a 
sense a blending of the forces of Old-South agrarianism 
and incipient Populism. 

The Grange had appeared in Georgia in 1872. In three 
years it had some 18,000 members, the largest number in 

'See Knight, vol. ii, p. 901; vol. v, p. 3114; Avery, pp. 513-514; 
Tribune Almanac, 1879, P- 64; ibid., 1881, p. 46; Congressional Record, 
46th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. ix, p. 616; ibid., 2nd Scss., vol. x, pp. 749-750; 
ibid., 3rd Sess., vol. xi, pp. 424, 490. 

'The W. J. Northern collection (now in possession of Miss Annie 
Bell Northern, Atlanta) contains a number of clippings which indicate 
the interest of the Grangers in these matters. Most of them are without 
indications as to the periodicals from which they were culled. Cf. also 
Buck, pp. 202-203; lE. A. Allen, ,Lo6or and Capital, section on "The 
Grange in the South ; " and files of the Southern Cultivator for the 
seventies (Atlanta). 



37] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 37 

any state in the South Atlantic division. Its activities were 
not essentially different from those in other sections. First 
attacking the problem of the middleman, its established co- 
operative stores and wholesale buying the selling agencies. 
These, despite the powerful opposition encountered in the 
business world, seem for a time to have saved the farmers 
considerable sums.^ Handicapped by rate discriminations 
on the part of railroads, they stimulated popular interest in 
questions of this kind. In addition to the various abuses 
prevailing in other states, the practice of bond-endorse- 
ment had continued in Georgia, involving considerable losses 
from forfeitures; then too, many of the roads were still 
exempt, by the terms of their charters, from property taxes. 
Efforts in the legislature to rectify these matters had largely 
failed, partly because of constitutional limitations. Hence 
with the growth of popular interest in such matters, a de- 
mand arose, as in other states at the time, for a revised con- 
stitution.^ 

The elections by which the convention was called, the de- 
legates chosen, and the new instrument ratified largely 
ignored party lines; hence it was easier for radicals to as- 
sert themselves than in regular elections. Even so, stabiliz- 
ing forces were by no means absent: a goodly number of 
delegates were ever ready with timely warnings against 
measures which might impair existing obligations, tend to 
drive capital from the state, or otherwise to undermine the 
foundations of returning prosperity. It was in reply to 
one of these warnings that Toombs uttered his famous re- 

'Buck, pp. SS-S9, 253, 264-265; clippings, Northen collectioa 
'Avery, pp. S93-S9S; Samuel W. Small, Stenegrophic Report of the 
Proceedings of the Georgia Constitutional Convention . . . 1877, PP- I04> 
466 ; Acts of the General Assembly, 1874, p. 98. iSee also Knight, vol. ii, 
874, 877-878, 885-886; Avery, 528, 533; Buck, chs. iv-vi, especially 
pp. 202-203. 



38 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [38 

tort, " Better shake the pillars of property than the pillars 
of liberty."' 

To sum up the provisions of the new document touching^ 
these subjects : The credit of the state was not to be 
" pledged or loaned to any individual, company, corpora- 
tion, or association; " nor was the state to " become a joint 
owner or stockholder in any company, association, or cor- 
poration." Its sovereign right of taxation was never to be 
restricted or surrendered: while this should not be held 
directly to impair obligations previously made; corporations 
holding contrary agreements should be, in effect, brought to 
surrender them, on pain of obtaining no amendments to 
their charters nor further special legislative aid until such 
surrender were made. No corporation should be permitted 
by law to purchase shares of stock in any other corporation 
or to make any agreements which might tend to defeat or 
to lessen competition. Regulation of freight and passenger 
tariffs to insure reasonableness and prevent discriminations 
was made obligatory upon the legislature; likewise laws to 
prevent rebates. A fruitless effort was made to abolish the 
convict-lease system.^ The measure of success with which 
these regulatory provisions might be attended in practical 
operation remained to be seen. But the radicals had scored 
at least a temporary triumph. 

In the meantime the spirit of insurgency and of hostility 
to the Colquitt administration was growing apace. The 
forces of opposition were confused, and represented almost 
every shade of opinion and interest. Disappointed office 
seekers apparently constituted no inconsiderable element. 

'Small, Proceedings, passim, especially pp. 105, 289-290, 294-297, 320- 
321, 466-467; Knight, vol. ii, p. 886. 

'Constitution of the State of -Georgia (in Small, Proceedings, op. cit., 
appendix), art. vii, sec. v, par. i ; ibid., art. iv, sec. i, par. i ; art. iv. sees. 
ii, pars, i, 3, 4, 5. 6; pp. 434, 441, 446. 



39] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 39 

Besieged in the beginning of his administration by countless 
requests from his " ardent supporters " in every locality for 
appointments, often without specification as to the office de- 
sired, Governor Colquitt had been able, of course, to 
satisfy only a small fraction of them. He had also incurred 
considerable opposition by his endorsement of the bonds of 
the Northeastern Railroad despite the legislation of 1874 
which had sought to put an end to such policies.^ An in- 
vestigation of the matter by the general assembly resulted in 
his vindication on the grounds of promises made to this road 
prior to the enactment of the law; but this did not allay 
popular feelings.^ Suspicions as to the honesty of the ad- 
ministration, doubtless aggravated by the unearthing of 
scandals in other states and at Washington, finally prompted 
the legislature to investigate the entire executive department. 
The comptroller-general was impeached for misappropria- 
tion, attempted bribery, illegal discrimination in matters of 
taxation, and other malpractices : he was convicted on eight 
counts. The state treasurer was impeached for appropriat- 
ing to private use interests on state deposits, but upon his 
confession and apology was permitted to return the money 
without further penalty. Less important irregularities were 
discovered in the department of agriculture, and in the office 
of the state printer ; for which the appropriate officials were 
admonished. Conditions in the convict camps were found to 
be deplorable, but no solution was reached. Colquitt was 
not found personally responsible for any of these misdeeds, 
and was probably guilty of nothing worse than having exer- 

' Avery, pp. 537-543; Knight, vol. ii, pp. 889-«90. 

'Avery, pp. 543-546; Knight, vol. ii, pp. 890-893. It seems that no 
loss had been incurred by the endorsement of those bonds; but the 
public was naturally sensitive on this point, since Colquitt's predecessor, 
Governor Smith (1872-76), in the face of reconstruction experiences 
had entailed forfeitures of some half-million dollars by such practices 
(Avery, p. 594)- 



40 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [40 

cised poor judgment in the selection of subordinates and 
having yielded too freely to the advice of designing political 
associates. There was a widespread feeling, however, 
doubtless egged on iby office-seekers, that a clean sweep was 
needed.^ 

With the political atmosphere thus clouded, the guber- 
natorial campaign of 1880 was exceptionally stormy. In the 
midst of the pre-convention campaign, with feeling already 
tense, the public was startled by the news that Gordon had 
resigned his seat in the U. S. Senate to which he had re- 
cently been reelected, and that Colquitt had appointed Brown 
to the place. The cry of " bargain " immediately arose. It 
was widely believed that Brown, now satisfied with his 
financial status and anxious to regain political preferment, 
had offered, on the one hand, to swing his following to 
Colquitt in the current campaign and, on the other, to insure 
a place in the business world to Gordon, who was confes- 
sedly resigning in order to build up his financial fortunes. 
It was thought to be significant that Gordon's ambitions 
were chiefly in the field of railway construction and manage- 
ment in which Brown held a commanding position.* Such 
allegations were of course bitterly resented. Gordon pro- 
tested that he had just received a very promising offer from 
one of the Western railroads which depended upon im- 
mediate acceptance; though after resigning he decided not 
to accept that place, opportunities of a similar character in 
Georgia becoming more attractive. In defense of the Brown 
appointment, he urged that the latter's course during recon- 
struction would give him added standing among his col- 
leagues from the North and West, and that his business 
ability and foresight would be a valuable asset to the state 

'Knight, vol. ii, pp. 889-897; Avery, pp. S45-S52; Felton, pp. 288-311. 
•Knight, vol. ii, pp. 896-906; Avery, pp. 558-567; Felton, pp. 9, 48, 
388-311. 



4i] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 41 

in national councils. He maintained furthermore that 
Brown's reviving influence in north Georgia could now be 
employed in recalling that section to party regularity.'' 
Amid all this excitement the state Democratic convention 
assembled. Virtually every delegate was either inflexibly 
bent upon the renomination of Colquitt or grimly deter- 
mined to prevent such event. From the outset Colquitt had 
a majority but not the necessary two thirds. A week's 
wrangling only intensified feeling on both sides. The 
heterogeneous opposition, scattering its vote among half a 
dozen candidates, was apparently ready to unite on Felton, 
but he decided to continue his fight in the seventh. When 
the majority finally rejected a proposal to reopen nomina- 
tions in the hope of agreeing upon a compromise candidate, 
a youthful delegate, scant, red-haired, and freckle-faced, 
gave voice to the rising spirit of insurgency in an impas- 
sioned outburst recalled by his admirers to the present day. 
it was Tom Watson. Principles, he said, should always be 
cherished above party allegiance; and if the Georgia De- 
mocracy could be held intact only by leaving it in the hands 
of the Colquitt forces, then let it be split ! Despairing of 
a two-thirds vote, the majority at last decided to " recom- 
mend " Colquitt to the Democratic voters, and adjourned the 
convention. The minority then held a rump meeting and 
" recommended " Thomas M. Norwood.' Their choice 
was unfortunate in several ways. 'Norwood, a Savannah 
lawyer who had served one term in the U. S. Senate, seems 
to have been lacking in personal magnetism; he had no war 
record; he was alleged to have said "hard things" about 
the negroes, who in the absence of a Republican candidate 
became a factional balance of power. He was further 
weakened, it seems, by the fact that he had acted as counsel 

• Knight, vol. ii, pp. 893-906 ; Avery, pp. 558-567, especially p. 562. 
'Avery, pp. 568-588 ; Knight, vol. ii, pp. 906-918 ; Felton, pp. 288-31 1, 349. 



42 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [42 

for certain holders of contested reconstruction bonds.^ Col- 
quitt, on the other hand, either directly or through one or 
another of his powerful supporters, could appeal to almost 
every element, excepting perhaps the more radically in- 
clined farmers, and Norwood was scarcely the man to exploit 
the full possibilities of their vote. Gordon was perhaps 
Colquitt's greatest asset. It is difHcult to say whether 
Brown was on the whole a help or a hindrance. His 
strength among the voters was never directly tested in this 
era, but he was returned to the Senate by the legislature for 
two consecutive terms. Norwood, dispite his handicaps, 
polled about 35 per cent of the popular vote.^ 

Conservatives had been thoroughly alarmed at these omi- 
nous cleavages in the party. Even when the revoh had been 
largely confined to the northern part of the state, they had 
sent some of their strongest men into those districts to 
campaign for the regular candidates. They had been 
charged with many irregularities.^ Unfortunately the ex- 
periences of reconstruction had familiarized the people with 
unfair means at the polls and had led many of the best of 
them to regard such matters lightly when apparently neces- 
sary to preserve the supremacy of the " respectable " ele- 
ment.* In regions where the negroes were more nimierous 
the temptation to employ corrupt practices was naturally 
stronger. Thus when division among the whites became 
state-wide such evils were greatly increased. During the 
seventies the colored vote had been largly eliminated or 
rendered ineffective in the black belt. Now it was eagerly 

'Avery, ibid., especially p. 591. 

* Tribune Almanac, 1881, p. 46; Avery, p. 601. 

« Felton, pp. 51-53, 144-182, especially pp. 161-162. 

'See Mrs. W. H. Felton, Country Life in Georgia, pp. 193-197. Also 
cf. C. A. Poe, "Suffrage Restrictions in the South," N. Am. Rev., vol. 
clxxv, pp. 534 et seq. 



43] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 43 

sought on both sides. The unwholesome results upon poli- 
tical morality were afterwards used with telling effect as 
a warning against further divisions.^ The bulk of the 
colored vote seems to have been brought by various means 
to the support of the straight Democracy/ Among the 
whites all forms of insurgency were condemned by the re- 
gulars as Republicanism in disguise. Rumors arose that 
the independent element was contemplating fusion with the 
Republicans. Whether these were well founded or whether, 
as the opposition declared, they emanated from Democratic 
headquarters, they doubtless helped to swell the majority 
for Colquitt. They are said to have been used with par- 
ticular force against Felton, who was defeated by a small 
margin. Speer was reelected. Thus conservative fears were 
not entirely allayed.^ 

Nor was the opposition discouraged. Felton, attributing 
his defeat to the overconfidence of his friends on the one 
•hand and to wholesale frauds on the other, determined at 
once to repeat the race in 1882.* Elarly in the latter year 
a self-chosen committee of independents and disaffected 

1 See infra, pp. 47-48, 148-155. 180-183. 

"This represents the testimony of many of the older inhabitants in 
various parts of the state given to the author in response to personal 
interviews made during the summer of 1918 and 1921. Nearly all of 
those interviewed agreed that the irregularities were shockingly com- 
mon ; though many of them stated that they were by no means confined 
to one side. It was usually agreed that the regulars were more suc- 
cessful in gaining the colored vote in most localities. The fact that the 
vote was unusually heavy in the black belt and that Colquitt's greatest 
majorities were in this region seems not without significance (Tribune 
Almanac, 1881, pp. 45-46). Also cf. Avery* statement (p. 591) that 
Norwood had offended the negroes, " whose votes were needed to 
elect him." Also see Felton, pp. 264-273. 

•Felton, pp. 288-310, 3II-39P- Also cf. Benj. H. Hill, Jr., Senator 
Benjamin H. Hill: His Life, Writings and Speeches, pp. 817-823, 

♦Felton, pp. 513-517- 



44 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [44 

Democrats and Republicans held a conference in Felton's 
room in a Washington hotel ; drew up resolutions condemn- 
ing both the old parties as corrupt and lacking in vital prin- 
ciples; called for the organization of a new party, North 
and South, which might adjure sectional and other pre- 
judices; and proposed a platform remarkably similar to 
those of the Populists in the nineties/ This conference 
gave color to the rumors of prospective fusion. The or- 
ganized Democracy in Georgia was not slow to recognize 
this fact and to give it fully publicity.^ A few months later 
came the alarming news that Stephens had consented to be- 
come the Independent nominee for governor. More or 
less sympathetic with dissenting groups for years, he had 
been besieged by Felton and Speer to become their leader 
at this time. After some correspondence and several con- 
ferences on the subject, he gave them such encouragement 
as might well have been taken as a promise ; though he after- 
wards denied that he so intended it.* Acting upon this 
the state Independent committee formally presented his name 
to the party. Meanwhile he was hastily besought by the 
regulars and persuaded, it seems, that, being apparently ac- 
ceptable to both factions, he .should become the straight 
Democratic candidate, and thus help to reunite the party.^ 
From this moment Independency was doomed. The more 
extreme malcontents declared that Stephens, now quite 
feeble, had been duped by the regulars, and that he had not 
acted fairly in the matter.' They put out a candidate, but 

'Felton, pp. 335-340 (platform on p. 340). 

'Ibid., pp. 340 et seq. 

'Ibid., pp. 298-299, 352-362, 366-370, 394-398. A number of letters and 
telegrams which passed among Felton, Speer and Stephens appear in 
these references. 

*Ibid., especially pp. 369-370. 

'Felton, pp. 3'45-399- 



45] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 45 

the results were as might have been expected. Speer was 
also defeated in this election, and the majority against Felton 
was greatly increased/ Independency was dead in Georgia." 
Thenceforth until 1890 elections were little more than a 
form. Disaffected leaders either retired from active poli- 
tical life, made their peace with the party organization, or 
continued to harrass the Bourbons from lesser heights. 
Speer became judge of the federal court for the southern 
district of Georgia ; Norwood went to Congress as a regu- 
lar; Felton appeared in the legislature.' The Republicans 
continued to carry a few of the more remote mountain 
coimties and one or two of the black counties on the coast, 
polled about a third of the presidential vote in 1884, and 
somewhat less in 1888. The triumph of the national De- 
mocracy in 1884 was greeted with wild rejoicing in the 
state and doubtless appreciably aided the development of 
party devotion and loyalty. Although so influential a party 
organ as the Atlanta Constitution objected to Qeveland's 
tariff policy as leaning too far toward free trade at a time 

^Tribune Almanac, 1883, p. 50. 

•Under various party names, somewhat similar groups had appeared 
in nearly all the Southern states during this time. They had more or 
less seriously threatened, if not actually interrupted, Democratic supre- 
macy in several of them. In the light of changing conditions and 
ideals, further study of these movements would doubtless reveal a 
number of interesting things. C C Pearson has treated the Readjuster 
Movement in Virginia. 

•In the legislature Felton helped to popularize the most important 
local issues afterwards taken up by the Populists; such as enlargement 
of the powers of the railroad commission, abolition of the convict-lease 
system, other prison reforms, further restriction of the liquor traffic, 
and improvement of the public school system. When the lease of the 
state road to the Brown company expired, he was largely instrumental 
in having it transferred to the iN. C. & St. L. Ry. at a 40 per cent 
higher rental, with all the proceeds (instead of half as formerly) to go 
to educational purposes. (See Felton, pp. 547-6214; Knight, vol. ii, 
pp. 864, 946-964.) 



46 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [46 

when the newer industrial regions were in need of protection, 
there seems to have been no thought in those years of de- 
serting his leadership/ 

As the Civil War receded, while sectional animosities 
generally waned, memories of the Lost Cause were held none 
the less sacred ; and the halo surrounding those who had dis- 
tinguished themselves in its defense grew ever more glamor- 
ous. In 1886 General Gordon, in company with Jefferson 
Davis and " Winnie " officiated at the laying of the corner- 
stone of a monument commemorating the birth of the Con- 
federacy at Montgomery. His return with the Davis party 
to Atlanta was marked by a series of splendid ovations. He 
reached the Georgia capital just as the state Democratic 
convention was about to nominate a candidate for gover- 
nor, and apparently had virtually decided upon young A. O. 
Bacon for the place. Gordon having achieved considerable 
financial success since leaving the Senate, now decided (or 
was persuaded) to return to political life, and suddenly an- 
nounced himself for the office in question. In the midst of 
all this patriotic fervor, who could deny him anything 1 * 

Despite its tendencies toward oligarchy and political 
stagnation, the Bourbon regime was not without its virtues. 
After the unwholesome revelations of Colquitt's first ad- 
ministration, the executive departments were reorganized 
and placed upon a more efficient basis.' The public school 
system provided for in the Constitution of 1868 was estab- 
lished in the seventies,* though on a rather modest scale: 
in 1890 the average school term was three and a half months 
and the average teacher's salary $117 for the term." This 

•Atlanta Constitution, Apr. 4, 1888 (ed.). 

'C/. Knight, vol. ii, pp. 940-946. 

'Knight, vol. ii, p. 917. 

*Ibid., pp. 863-864. 

'U. S. Statistical Abstract, 1891, p. 254. 



47] THE "BOURBON" DEMOCRACY 47 

included the country schools, however, where the term was 
much shorter and the salary lower than in the cities and 
larger towns. In the latter, local taxation usually supple- 
mented the state fund. Development along industrial and 
commercial lines was indeed remarkable. Between 1870 
and 1890 the amount of capital invested in manufacturing 
enterprises more than quadrupled, railway mileage nearly 
trebled, and total property values rose from 21 5 to 820 mil- 
lions.'' 

Meanwhile the great prophet of the New South was giving 
form to her adolescent ideals. That section has probably 
not produced in recent years a more lovable man than 
Henry W. Grady. Managing editor of the Atlanta Con- 
stitution during the eighties and speaker at many important 
gatherings, he probably stirred more Southern hearts with 
his messages than did any other man in his generation. 
With exquisite lyrical charm, he glorified the " hero in grey 
with a heart of gold ; " and yet made it clear that the cause 
which his sword had defended was now but a sacred memory, 
at least in so far as it implied disunion or the perpetuation 
of human bondage. The South, deprived of her " once 
splendid but medieval " social order, " had found her jewel 
in the toad's head of defeat." Her plantation economy was 
now being supplanted by a marvelously growing industrial 
system, which challenged the spinners of Massachusetts and 
the iron-makers of Pennsylvania. " We have sewed towns 
and cities in the place of theories," he said, " and put 
business above politics." On the farm, the free negro had 
proved a greater asset than the slave had been. He was 
assured of protection, education, and esteem — in his place. 
But his place was not in politics. And so long as his cor- 
ruptible vote remained a menace to Anglo-Saxon civilization, 

' Twelfth Census, vol. viii, p. 131 ; Sta. Abs., 1891, p. 264; U. S. Census 
Office, Special Report on Wealth, Debt and Taxation, 1907, pp. 42-43. 



48 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [48 

the first duty of the white South was " to close ranks, stand 
firm, and at any hazard .... maintain the integrity and 
supremacy of the Democratic party," He reaUzed that 
solidarity would tend to weaken the influence of the South 
in national affairs ; but on the other hand there was the much 
graver danger that " by dividing, it will debauch its political 
system, destroy the defenses of its social integrity, and put 
the balance of power in the hands of an ignorant and danger- 
ous class." These sentiments were echoed on Friday after- 
noons from thousands of school-house rostrums, and be- 
came a veritable religion of the New South.^ 

Thus by the close of the eighties the Bourbon Democracy 
was established upon a rock. Great must be the storm that 
would shake its foundation. But clouds were appearing. 

'Joel 'Chandler Harris (editor), Henry W. Grady: His Life, Writings 
and Speeches, passim, especially pp. 25-80, 83-91, 97-105, 124-136; 
Atlanta Constitution, Nov. 7, 1888. 



CHAPTER II 
The Basis of Agrarian Dissent 

The remarkable development of industry and trade under 
the Bourbon regime was not paralleled in the case of agri- 
culture. The great bulk of the farmers remained in the 
toils of a pernicious credit system which devoured their 
profits and kept them in perpetual bondage to the merchants 
or brokers who " ran " them. 

As mentioned in chapter I, the Civil War had left the 
farmers without funds with which to begin the work of 
restoration or to finance their crops, and with a poor chance 
of securing credit. They could not obtain loans upon real 
estate mortgages, for their land was a drug on the market.'' 
Few of them had such personal property as would constitute 
acceptable security.^ Money and credit, as is usually the 
case when the need for them is most dire, were exceedingly 
timid and exacting. A small group of local business men 
and speculators had been rather blessed by the war, but 
they were not as a rule the kind who would temper their 
business dealings with charity." Outside capital would of 
course not come to the rescue until local agents could find a 

" See R. P. Brooks, Agrarian Revolution in Georgia, chs. i and ii ; 
E. M. Banks, Economics of Land Tenure in Georgia, ch. iii; Mildred 
Thompson, Reconstruction in Georgia, chs. ii, iii and ix; C H. Otken, 
Ills of the South, ch. i; M. B. Hammond, The Cotton Ind-ustry, pp. 
120, 141-142. 

'Ibid. 

•Otken, pp. 9-10. 

49] <9 



50 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [50 

satisfactory basis of security and insure a profit deemed 
commensurate with the risk. 

The latter conditions fulfilled, however, the situation 
might offer no mean opportunity to outside investors and 
local middlemen. The backward regions of the world, as 
well as our own Western country, were revealing to the 
capitalist the possibilities of a community in which large 
profits or interest might 'be demanded on the high-risk 
assumption and the greatest caution possible then taken in 
regard to security. 

A scheme which had been employed to some extent in 
ante-bellum times, as between planter and factor, seemed to 
offer some promise. To obtain credit for current expenses, 
the planter had sometimes given a mortgage, or lien, upon 
his prospective crop."^ Now that the price of cotton was 
alluringly high, this plan found general favor. Extended 
to cover the account of the small farmer with the village 
merchant and that of the tenant with his landlord, it might 
afford a basis for solving the entire problem of rural credit. 
Bankers and brokers could then obtain backing at the North 
or in Europe ; they in turn could take care of the merchants ; 
who finally could supply the farmers by means of annual 
accounts, secured if necessary by mortages upon real and 
personal property in addition to the expected crops. The 
plan seemed promising to the distressed planters in more 
ways than one. It will be remembered that their attempt 
to reestablish the plantation system with wage labor had 
been largely a failure from the outset.^ Aside from the 
lack of money with which to pay wages, it was not easy to 
induce the negroes to work in this way : it smacked too much 
of slavery times. Hence the tendency at once appeared to 
break up the large estates into small holdings and to rent 

■Hammond, pp. 107-112, 121. 
'Brooks, ch. ii; Hammond, ch. iv. 



51 ] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 51 

these to the negroes and landless whites, usually for a share 
of the products.^ The difficulty of maintaining any sort of 
effective supervision over the tenants was quickly realized. 
The negroes, especially, were inclined to neglect their work ; 
to abuse the stock and implements furnished them ; and, if 
not restrained, to consume their portion of the expected yield 
in extravagant, often foolish, purchases before the crop was 
half made. Then, if they did not leave for parts unknown, 
they must have further advances; so that the landlord's 
profits became very uncertain.^ Now if the lien system, 
which had already sprung up in advance of the law, could 
be so regulated as to reserve to him the exclusive right to 
take liens from his tenants, it might enable him to control 
the expenditures of the less discreet among them, and to 
make his general supervision more effective. If he were 
able to maintain a store or commissary he might also in- 
sure for himself the profits on most of their trade. Thus 
the first of the modern lien laws in Georgia, passed in 1866 
under planter influences, permitted landlords to have liens 
upon the crops of their tenants to cover indebtedness for 
stock, farming utensils, and provisions, furnished them for 
the purpose of making the crop. It further provided that 
" farmers " (then held to mean proprietor farmers only) 
might execute similar liens to merchants or factors for the 
purchase of provisions and fertilizers.' 

The rising small-town merchants were not slow to ap- 
preciate the possibilities of a credit business with this ever- 
growing body of tenant farms, if the law were fittingly 
extended.* Being well represented in the councils of the 

• Ibid. ; also Banks, ch. v. 

* Eleventh Census, "Farms and Homes," pp. 22-23; Hammond, p. 143. 
*Acts of the Georgia Legislature, 1866, p. 141; Brooks, p. 32. 
'Brooks, p. 33. 



52 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [52 

restored Democracy, they secured an amendment in 1873 
granting to all classes of tenants the same freedom in execut- 
ing liens as land owners enjoyed, and at the same time 
broadening the scope of such credit to cover virtually all 
human needs, including money.^ A spirited contest arose 
in this way between them and the planters.^ The latter 
were naturally chagrined at the prospect of losing control 
over their tenants' accoimts. They mustered sufficient 
strength the next year to pass an amendment specifically 
prohibiting merchants from taking liens from tenants.* But 
the merchants were not to be permanently outdone. They 
came Iback the following year and effected a compromise 
which gave them practically what they wanted, and yet left 
it possible for the more aible and aggressive planters to share 
their privileges. Under this final arrangement, tenants, by 
securing written permission from their landlords, might 
freely enjoy the blessings of store accounts.* The peculiar 
charm which the town holds for rustics, especially those of 
the dusky race, together with the natural desire to control 
their own purchases, led tenants generally to demand this 
freedom; and, with competition for their services usually 
keen, a large percentage soon gained it. Only those land 
owners unusually gifted as administrators and able to com- 
mand the necessary financial support could now retain or 
control such accounts." 

^Acts, 1873, P- 43; Brooks, p. 32. 

'Brooks, p. 33. 

'Acts, 1874, P- 18; Brooks, p. 32. Banks is in error (p. 47), as Brorfcs 
points out (p. 33), in implying that this phase of the law remained 
unchanged until 1891. 

*Acts, 187s, p. 20; Brooks, p. 33. 

•A number of the planters in the black belt supplied their tenants 
with provisions which they in turn had procured from the merchants. 
Brooks says that in ths way a majority of the planters (not of all 
landlord'-farmers) were able to control such accounts. 



53] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 53 

The two groups most benefitted by the lien system as 
thus constituted were becoming largely identical. Since al- 
most the only profit in connection with agriculture, as will 
later appear, was in this matter of extending credit to the 
less fortunate workers (whether " independent " farmers or 
tenants), the more aible planters were inclined to enter the 
mercantile business. Some of them were content with 
modest supply stores or commissaries on their places, others 
were drawn into the towns where they joined the merchant 
class.^ Many of the latter in the meantime, thanks to mort- 
gage foreclosures, forfeitures for taxes, and the general 
cheapness of land, were acquiring considerable plantations.^ 
Some of them in fact came to rival the few remaining one- 
time aristocrats in the extent of their acres. Such farms 
were especially attractive to tenants; partly because of the 
greater freedom which they offered, and partly because of 
the glamor which came to attach to the town or city dweller, 
particularly the merchant who was always thought to be 
exceedingly rich and hence quite superior to the resident 
farmer.' In this way it seems to have been easier for the 
absentee owners to secure tenants and to control credit pat- 
ronage.* Hence these groups were quite advantageously 
placed in the new scheme of things. 

But what of the great body of " share croppers," renters, 
and debtor-proprietors? Was it particularly bad to mort- 
gage a crop in advance ? The granting of claims upon future 

•This tendency, or at least the significance of it, seems to have been 
generally overlooked by other students of this field. The fact is 
easily confirmed by inquiry in practically any country town in the state. 

'These merchant-landlords, looking to the supply business for their 
chief profits, nearly ruined the business of farming itself. See Brooks, 
pp. 33-36; lOtken, ch. iii, especially pp. 39-45- 

'Otken, p. 41. 

* Ibid., pp. 41-43- 



54 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [54 

goods is not uncommon in the business world. Those 
planters who had resorted to the practice in the old regime 
had not found it incomparably burdensome. The new 
system, however, was quite different in its operation and 
consequences. The planters in former times had borrowed 
money at a definite rate of interest.^ The hapless farmer 
under the new dispensation procured only the privilege of 
buying on credit up to a given limit whatever commodities 
the merchant was able and willing to furnish, and for what- 
ever prices he saw fit to charge. 

Early in the year the farmer repaired to his merchant. 
If he were so fortunate as not to be already in debt he might 
make his own choice. Very likely, however, he had closed 
the former year with a balance due ; so that under the terms 
of his old contract he was compelled to continue his account 
with the same man.^ In either event he must now make a 
new bargain. The questions normally arose, — What lands 
did he expect to cultivate? How much of them would he 
agree to plant in cotton? This was important. Being the 
" money crop," the amount of it planted would determine 
the extent of his credit.' In fact he probably could not 
persuade a merchant to " run " him at all unless he agreed to 
plant as much cotton as the latter deemed necessary to cover 
his needs.* There was a double advantage to the merchant 
in this.° He was not only concerned with the extent of 

'Hammond, p. 146. 

^Eleventh Census, "Farms and Homes," pp. 22-23; Hammond, ch. v; 
by Hammond also " The Southern Farmer and the Cotton Qestion " 
in Pol. Set. Qty., vol. xii, pp. 250-275 ; Ceo. K. Holmes, " Peons of the 
South " in Annals of Amer. Acad, of Pol. and Sac. Set., Sept., 1893, 
pp. 26S-27A- 

'Usually from 50 to 75 per cent of the expected yield. See Otken, 
chs. ii, iii, vi; Hammond, p. 157; Tenth Census, vol. vi, pt. ii, p. 174. 

* Otken, pp. 48-57; Hammond, "Southern Farmer,'' op. eit.; Holmes, 
op. eit. 

•Hammond, p. 151. 



55] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 55 

security obtainable, but he was also aware that the more 
cotton planted the less corn and other supplies could be 
raised ; so that these must be added to the debtor's account. 
Thus as the price of the staple continued to drop the farmer 
found it exceedingly difficult to heed the wholesome ad- 
vice of economists, editors, and government officials to re- 
duce his cotton acreage and raise more supplies. 

The crop lien arranged, the farmer would probably be 
questioned as to the extent of his real and personal property 
subject to mortgage. If again he was fortunate enough to 
own anything not already over-burdened with claims, he 
was likely to have it attached also.* This would add to his 
purchasing power, provided it were not necessary to use it 
to cover a left-over obligation. Thus before the year's 
account was opened he might be required to sign away his 
modest accumulations as well as his future hopes. 

And what had he gained ? Dr. M. B. Hammond, a lead- 
ing authority on this and other matters connected with the 
cotton industry, declares that ^ 

When one of these mortgages has been recorded against the 
southern farmer, he has passed into a state of hopeless peonage 
to the merchant who has become his creditor. With the sur- 
render of this evidence of indebtedness, he has also sur- 
rendered his freedom of action and his industrial autonomy. 
From this time until he has paid the last dollar of his indebted- 
ness, he is subject to the constant oversight and direction of 
the merchant. Every mouthful of food that he purchases, 
every implement that he requires on the farm, his mules, cattle, 
the clothing for himself and family, the fertilizers for his 

1 See ref. 2, p. 54. It was sometimes necessary in the case of tenants 
for the landlord to pledge his part of the expected yield also, to induce 
a merchant to run them. (Hammond, p. 147.) 

'Hammond, The Cotton Industry, p. 149. Cf. W. S. Morgan, History 
of the Wheel and Alliance, p. 57. 



56 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [56 

land, must all be bought of the merchant who holds the crop 
lien, and in such amounts as the latter is willing to allow. 
Except for cash, no other merchant will sell him anything. . . . 

He must pay from 20 to 50 per cent more than the prevail- 
ing cash price for everything charged to his account." 
Hammond compiled from the Reports of the State De- 
partment of Agriculture the average annual prices as they 
ran in Georgia during the eighties for com and for bacon 
on both the cash and the credit basis. These articles, con- 
stituting the chief items of food for the average farmer, 
bulked among the largest on his accounts, despite the fact 
that he could have raised all he needed of them at home if 
he had not been required to plant so much cotton.'' From 
these figures it appears that in the case of corn the credit 
price was in no year less than 25 per cent higher; of bacon, 
not less than 20 per cent. The averages for the decade were 
31 per cent higher for the one, and 29 for the other.' 
Commodities which offered less opportunity for local com- 
parisons and possible competition showed even greater dif- 
ferences.* The debtor as a rule did not fully appreciate the 
greatness of this disparity, for there was often for him no 
basis for comparison. Many of the merchants did a credit 
business so exclusively that they set no cash prices.^ Some 
commodities, like fertilizers, were so universally sold on 

'Rarely as low as 10; sometimes as high as 100; in exceptional cases, 
200 per cent more. See Hammond, p. 152. 

'Ibid. 

'Ibid., p. 153. 

*Geo. K. Holmes (op. cit.) found at least one Georgia town in which 
the farmers were paying $10 a barrel for flour which cost the merchants 
$3; a dollar a bushel for com that cost forty cents. Otken says 
(pp. 26-29) that flour which cost at the mill from $2.30 to $3.00, and 
which retailed at about $4.50, was charged to accounts at from $6.00 
to $7.50. 

'Hammond, p. 155. 



57] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 57 

time that credit prices entirely ruled the market. If the 
farmer had been fully aware of the situation, he might have 
realized that, since the average item of his account ran not 
more than six months, he was paying double the difference in 
price as annual interest ^ — from fifty to a hundred per cent ! 

When his crop was harvested it was not his own : it must 
go at once to the merchant.^ He could not hold it for a 
better price, nor seek a more advantageous market. He 
would ibe allowed the locally prevailing price. Should the 
total receipts be insufficient to cover his indebtedness, he 
must find further security upon which to renew his bondage. 
If happily he came out even (with perhaps enough to buy a 
Httle "Santa Qaus" for the children), he might try his 
luck with another merchant next year. 

These are not exceptional cases. Nearly all the farmers 
went at least partially on a credit basis. ° It is probably safe 
to say that between eighty and ninety per cent of the cotton 
growers — ^proprietors, and tenants, white and black — were 
normally ensnared by the lien system.* To what extent 

*Ibid., pp. 153-154. 

'Ibid., p. 151. 

'Ibid., p. 155- 

* " Ninety per cent," said Hammond (writing in 1897), " of the cotton 
growers of Alabama, it is stated on high authority, make their purchases 
in this way. . . . Throughout the cotton belt it is probably no exagger- 
ation to say that three-fourths of the cotton planters and their tenants, 
white and black," do likewise (p. 155). Conditions in Georgia were 
probably no better than in Alabama. In the older states where more 
fertilizers were required, and in those which had suffered greater losses 
from the war, credit was more widely demanded. Thus in states like 
Georgia and Alabama probably a considerably larger proportion of 
the farmers were involved than in those like Texas. No exact data 
bearing on this point were collected by the census takers, but the 
prevalence of the system was particularly noted' in 1890 (Eleventh 
Census, "Farms and Homes," pp. 22-23). The United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture in 1912 sent out a questionaire over the cotton belt, 
inquiring as to the percentage of cotton growers still resorting to the 



58 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [58 

real and personal property were also involved it is difficult 
to estimate. The pledging of household effects, live stock, 
and implements was particularly prevalent among tenants, 
and not unknown among small proprietors/ Pitiful heaps of 
their rubbish commonly disfigured the court-house squares. 
Land was still employed less widely as security than in other 
parts of the country. Except in cases of prospective pur- 
chases, or of additional collateral, it was usually left as a 
last resort.^ According to the census reports, a little over a 
fifth of the taxable land in the state was under mortgage in 
1890.* Three times as much had been staked in the pre- 
ceding year as in 1880.* These figures, however, do not 
adequately represent the extent to which real estate was used 
to cover debts. A considerable number of mortgages were 
never recorded." Besides, it was customary in many cases 
to grant " deeds to secure debt, with power of sale " in- 
stead. ' These operated in much the same way, but were not 

Hen; also the proportion who had done so in 1902. 'On a basis of the 
replies it was estimated that 42 per cent of the proprietors and 74 per 
cent of the tenants, were still in the toils; that 52 per cent of the one 
and 77 of the other had been in 1902 {Yearbook of the Department of 
Agriculture, 1912, p. 27). Again it should be noted that this applied 
to the entire belt ; and also that conditions had materially improved even 
by 1902. On the strength of these figures and of the results of personal 
investigations, the writer is convinced that scarcely fewer than four- 
fifths, perhaps as many as nine-tenths, of the cotton farmers in Georgia 
were lien victims in 1890. And there were extremely few farmers, of 
course, who were not cotton growers. 

'This statement and the one following are based upon years of 
personal observation and inquiry in a score or more typical counties 
in the state. 

' See Brooks, p. 34 ; Banks, p. 49. 

* Abstract of Eleventh Census, p. 218. 

*Banks, p. 50; Eleventh Census, "Real Estate Mortgages," p. 371. 

'Banks, p. 50. 

'Ibid., pp. 49-50; Eleventh Census, "Real Estate Mortgages," p. 11. 



59] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 59 

SO recorded, hence they eluded the census taker as well as 
the inquisitive neighbor. Such hazarding of property may 
often represent progress of course. It may be the begin- 
ning of a new or larger career as proprietor. Interesting 
light is thrown upon this question by the census of 1890. 
The results of a special investigation in 102 representative 
counties, three of which were in Georgia, indicated that 
some 80 per cent of the outstanding mortgages on acres in 
the country as a whole were for real estate purchases and 
improvements together; only half as many in proportion 
were for this purpose in Georgia. What is even more sig- 
nificant, 5.4 per cent of such mortgages in the country at 
large were for farm and family expenses, against 46.3 per 
cent in Georgia.^ Similar disparities appeared for the South 
in general as compared with other sections. 

How many farms were wholly or partially sacrificed for 
debt we are unable to say. Figures on mortgage fore- 
closures would be of little value, if completely assembled, 
since there were other legal means of forcing sale, and since 
farmers not infrequently sold parts of their places volun- 
tarily to ease financial straits.^ A great deal of land 
evidently changed hands. Some of the largest plantations 
crumbled.' How many others became merchant-owned 
" bonanzas " we do not know. Small proprietorships in- 

' Eleventh Census, "Real Est. Mort.," pp. 286-287. 

'Banks, pp. 49-50. 

•The extent to which the great plantations were broken into small 
proprietorships is a subject regarding which there seems to have been 
a great deal of misapprehension, due perhaps to the fact that the census 
columns showing the number and average size of farms each decennial 
year rank tenant holdings as " farms." Thus the growing tendency 
to abandon the practice of cultivating the large plantation as a unit, 
letting it out to tenants instead, has swelled the number of " farms," 
and shrunk their average size far beyond any proportionate changes as 
to proprietorship. See Banks, p. 33 ; Brooks, pp. 41-44. 



6o THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [6o 

creased in number but disproportionately declined in size.^ 
Medium-large estates, among which the bulk of those ac- 
cumulated by creditors doubtless fell, showed a significant 
trend toward concentration; that is, those of 175 to 1000 
acres became relatively fewer but larger/ Thence down- 
ward to the little vegetable patches, there was an accelerating 
trend toward multiplication by subdivision. Of the newly 
acquired farms, irrespective of size, there is evidence that 
the great majority went to men who were not directly en- 
gaged in agricultural work. It seems, for example, that 
while the number of farm owners increased about 22 per 
cent during the eighties, the number of farmers cultivating* 
their own places increased less than 4 per cent.' Popula- 
tion in the meantime increased about 19 per cent.* Allow- 
ing then for a normal division of estates among heirs, not a 
few of the farmers must have lost their lands entirely. 
Doubtless some of the more thrifty and sacrificing tenants 
became small propietors; but making further allowance for 
these, still others of the landowning class must have quit 

'Banks collected statistics on these matters from official sources in 31 
typical counties of Georgia. A comparison of the data on pp. 35, 39 
and 72 quite confirms the above statement. 

Note: The author assumes responsibility for the interpretation given 
these figures, from Banks and other sources, in the above paragraph. 

*It appears from Banks' figures (p. 39) that for the white proprietor- 
ships alone (those for the colored are given under different classifications, 
but indicate that the points here made would only be emphasized if both 
could be combined) estates of 1000 acres or more constituted 7.7 per 
cent of the total number in 1873; 4.8 per cent in 1890. (Estates of 175 
to 1000 acres in the meantime fell from 51 to 41 per cent as to numbers, 
but rose from S4 to 56 per cent of the total acreage which itself in- 
creased somewhat. The concentrating tendency was most marked in 
the group of 500- to looo-acre estates. 

'Banks, pp. 35, 72; Abstract of Eleventh Census, p. 97. 

* Abstract of Eleventh Census, p. 15. 



6i ] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 6l 

the farming business or sunk into tenancy.^ Thus the 
limited statistics available tend to confirm what is much 
better appreciated by one who is at all familiar with the 
practical workings of the credit system and the social changes 
which were evidently in progress during the time in Georgia 
and in other Southern states; namely, that there was a 
marked tendency toward the concentration of agricultural 
land in the hands of merchants, loan agents, and a few of 
the financially strongest farmers. 

While these groups profited on the whole by the credit 
situation, they were not without a share in its detriments. 
They were to some extent debtors themselves, and as such 
were often subjected to ungenerous terms. Then, as credi- 
tors, they probably encountered something more than a 
normal risk. Hence each middleman who passed a credit 
allowance on was inclined to feel justified in liberally adding 
to the interest. 

Merchants, for example, were usually required by the 
banks to pay one-and-a-half per cent monthly for discounts 
or short term loans. ^ The legal rate of interest in Georgia 
was eight per cent, but the law was easily evaded, and higher 
rates were often charged. In dealing with customers, on 
the other hand, the merchants were never quite sure of full 
collections.' Sometimes a thriftless tenant would neglect 
his crop until it was smothered by the grass, and as harvest 
time approached would disappear from the community. 
Other customers would have sickness in the home; or per- 
haps, for some breach of the law, would face a choice be- 

' About 57 per cent of the farms in <3«orgia were cultivated by tenants 
in 1890, against 45 per cent in 1880. (Eleventh Census, " Farms and 
Homes," p. 286.) The great increase is largely explained, however, by 
the substitution of tenancy for the wage-labor system. 

'Hammond, p. 164. 

•Hammond, p. 164. 



62 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [62 

tween a fine and a season in the chain gang. To refuse 
them aid would probably mean the loss of advances already- 
made. For various reasons, then, some accounts would be 
permitted to approach the safety limit early in the year, 
and finally to exceed the available security. Perhaps an un- 
usually favorable crop would come to the rescue : perhaps it 
would not. The accounts might be carried over, but even- 
tually some of them would be lost.^ In a measure, therefore, 
hard terms were demanded by the situation. The merchants 
were no less human than the farmers. Many of them came 
from the same families. They were simply caught in a 
system which presented certain drawbacks on the one hand 
and opportunities on the other, and they sought to make the 
most of it. And fortune favored them.^ " The road to 
wealth in the South," wrote George K. Holmes ^ in 1893, 
" outside of the cities and aside from manufacturing, is 
merchandising." 

Many people have been inclined to censure the banks for 
not responding more generously to credit demands. They 
continued to do almost no business directly with men whose 
capital was wholly invested in agriculture.* One can ap- 

'On the difficulties which confronted the merchants, see Otken, ch. iii. 

'It may be wondered why competition did not become so keen as to 
force more reasonable terms.. It should be remembered that not every 
one could secure the necessary financial backing. Besides a certain 
business acumen, coupled with considerable knowledge of the community 
was necessary for success in the business. The number of merchants 
did greatly increase as is shown by the remarkable growth of towns 
and villages, most of which were almost wholly dependent upon the 
business of furnishing the neighboring farms. No reliable statistics 
showing the growth of wealth among merchants seem to be available. 
Their tax returns were ridiculously low as a rule (see L. F. 
Schmeckebier, " Taxation in Georgia," in Johns Hopkins University 
Studies, vol. xviii, pp. 217 et seq. 

'In "Peons of the South," op. cit. 

'Brooks, p. 34; Hammond, pp. 163-164. 



63] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 63 

preciate, to be sure, that even as land values gradually re- 
covered, the uncertainty of finding a ready sale for such 
property if occasion required still remained.- And a business 
which demanded a quick turnover would call for a more fluid 
security. If they broke their custom in this regard they 
were almost sure to demand a double interest. They would 
usually urge, often with truth no doubt, that they did not 
have the capital to spare and that credit was extremely hard 
even for them to obtain. As agents, they might be able to 
negotiate a loan, but it would be necessary for them to 
deduct their commission from the proceeds. The applicant 
was fortunate if he were not required in the end to pay 
more than fifteen per cent.^ When he counted his money 
he might have noticed that a considerable part of it was in 
bank notes, perhaps bearing the name of the institution 
favoring him with the loan. These might have suggested 
to him that the banker's actual investment, of which they 
were a token, was already drawing interest from the gov- 
ernment; and hence was now trebling its yield. In other 
words, if he were a national banker he had purchased bonds 
of the federal government, upon which he received interest ; 
with them as security, he had obtained from the govern- 
ment, without charge, circulating notes up to ninety per 
cent of his investment.^ With these notes he could obtain 
additional interest on the same investment, and perhaps a 
" commission " besides. Verily, to him that hath shall be 
given. 

Early in the eighties a number of new loan agencies ap- 
peared in the state which seemed to offer great promise 
of relief. They were hailed by optimists like Grady with 
much enthusiasm." Largely finuanced by Northern capital, 

'Hammond, p. 164. 

'D. R. Dewey, Financial History of the United States, p. 326. He 
paid a one-per-cent tax on his note circulation. 
•Hammond, p. 164. 



64 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [64 

they seemed at first semi-philanthropic. Their plan as an- 
nounced was to furnish loans to farmers for periods of 
about five years, secured by mortgages upon real estate up 
to forty or fifty per cent of its appraised value. The 
interest was to be seven or eight per cent. Closer investi- 
gation, however, revealed the fact that the agent would 
deduct at the outset some twenty dollars on the hundred 
as a commission for negotiating the loan ; leaving the victim 
eighty dollars cash in return for a note for one hundred 
with interest.^ AJas, they proved to be the same sort of 
" loan sharks " as those at the time infesting the West. 
But they did a thriving business. " Nothing shows more 
clearly," wrote Hammond in 1897,^ " the need of better 
credit facilities in the South than the willingness on the part 
of the more thrifty and industrious farmers to borrow 
money on such terms rather than to submit to the high 
prices and dictation of the advancing merchants." 

Thus, with virtually the entire economic system of the 
state conducted after the manner of a huge pawnshop, the 
paramount problem was that of money and credit. Qosely 
associated with this — in a sense, indeed, a part of it — was 
the matter of falling prices, and the consequent losses en- 
tailed upon producers. 

From its eminence of a dollar a poimd at the close of the 
Civil War, cotton had fallen by 1868 to twenty-five cents.' 
The downward trend continued to the end of the century.* 
About eighteen cents in the local markets when the new era 
of home rule began in December, 1871, it averaged, on the 
first of that month each year, about twelve cents during the 

'Hammond, p. 165. 

'Ibid. 

'Ibid., appendix I. 

* See chart on p. 66. 



6s] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 65 

seventies, nine during the eighties, and seven during the 
nineties.^ The widening of the acreage given over to cotton, 
the increase in the number of farmers engaged in its cultiva- 
tion, and the growing use of commercial fertilizers resulted 
in vastly sweUing the output. Yet the total selling price did 
not greatly increase. In fact, it frequently happened that the 
larger harvest brought an actually smaller gross return. The 
following table ^ illustrates this point : 

Average annual Average annual 

production in selling price 

U. S. {millions {millions of 

Periods of bales) dollars) 

1870-74 3.88 267 

1875-79 S-OO 223 

1880-84 6.09 278 

1885-89 6.88 335 

1890-94 8.37 304 

1^5-99 9.38 302 

As shown in the chart on p. 66 the prices of other products 
declined on an average in nearly the same proportion. For 
a generation, therefore, money returns to producers were 
almost constantly shrinking. 

If the farmers had ibeen able to buy for cash, so that 
they might have avoided the exhausting overcharges of 
credit accounts, and the appreciation of their debts in terms 
of their products, they might have found these losses largely 
offset by the greater purchasing power of the dollar. But 
not wholly. Some expenditures, not represented in the price 
curve, increased : real estate, for example, became dearer, 
and taxes proportionately higher.' Fixed charges like in- 
terest on loans did not decrease. Such compensation as 

'Averaged from figures given for consecutive years in the Yearbook 
of the Department of Agriculture, 1901, p. 754. 

'Ibid. 

' L. F. Schmeckebier, " Taxation in Georgia," op. cit. 



66 



THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA 



[66 



Thirty Years of Falling Prices 

index of wholesale prices (of all commodities) compared with the 
farm price of cotton on december i each year 



price index 



200 



Price of 
cotton 




1270 



16E0 



1890 



1900 



It may be noticed that the cotton farmer suffered more than the average 
producer. 

The curve for wholesale prices is based on the column for simple averages in 
the Aldrich Report to 189 1, and thereafter on the figures of the Bureau of Labor, 
reduced by Ralph G. Hurlin, Annalist, April 11,1921. That for cotton is based 
on the figures of the Department of Agriculture, op, cit. 



6;] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 67 

might otherwise have accrued from any decline in the price 
of fertilizers and other replacements was largely neutralized 
by the necessity of using them more freely. 

Along with the general decline in the price of cotton went 
the fluctuations during the year. Like other farm products 
it was usually lowest at harvest season/ when the great 
majority of producers were forced to sell. There was nearly 
always a recovery in the following spring, the advantage 
going as a rule to the middleman. This advance, small 
though it might have appeared, probably represented in 
most cases, a larger profit than the grower had made. It 
is estimated, in fact, that the majority of farmers in Georgia 
made no enterpreneurs' profits during this period.^ If the 
grower was chagrined at seeing the rise come too late, he 
was probably inspired with renewed hope as he broke the 
soil for another crop. It came to be a rather common be- 
lief that the market was so manipulated as to produce a rise 
around planting season for the psychological effect. 

The most serious hardship entailed by the long-continued 
fall in prices — one that applied to the debtor class in general 
regardless of occupation — ^was that of the appreciation of 
all standing obligations; whether of long-term notes, or 
of carried-over accounts. Whether measured in terms of 
the labor and sacrifices required to procure them, or of the 
wants they would satisfy, dollars grew larger. A debt 
equivalent to ten bales of cotton in 1871 would have re- 
quired eighteen bales to cover it five years later.* The 
same proportion over a similar period held for one con- 

'See prices for December i and following May i each year in Year- 
b ok, op. cit. The point is better illustrated by comparison of the daily 
quotations for October-December with those for January-May. 

2 See Banks, pp. 51-52. Cf. also C. W. Davis, " Why the farmer is not 
prosperous," Forum, vol. ix, pp. 231-241 (Apr., 1890). 

* See chart, p. 69. 



68 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [68 

tracted in 1889. These were above the average, to be sure, 
but they illustrate the tendency. What the debtor lost and 
the creditor gained in the way of purchasing power is shown 
in the next table. '^ (Five-year periods are used since, ac- 
cording to the Census of 1890, this was about the average 
term of a real estate mortgage.)^ 

The average 5-year Appreciated {in terms 

debt contracted of the purchasing 

during the period power of the dollar) 

1865-1869 35-2 per cent 

1870-1874 19-7 " 

1875-1879 4-5 " 

1880-1884 11.7 

1885-1890 11.6 

To this loss was added, of course, the interest and perhaps 
a commission, or else the premium on time prices. There 
is little wonder that the farmers came to feel that they were 
trying to fill a cask that was open at both ends. 

There were also considerable differences between the cash 
prices of the local markets and those of the cities.* For this 
the farmers were inclined to hold the railroads at least par- 
tially responsible. In Georgia, as in other states, the earlier 
efforts to correct the abuses of railway corporations by law 
had met with limited success. Important as the work of 
the Constitutional Convention of 1877 had been, it had not 
solved the prcvblem. Pursuant of its provisions, a railway 
commission had been established in 1879.* Partly as a re- 
sult of the activities of this body, freight tariffs had been 

'Based on figures in .Aldrich Report (vol. i, p. 9) for "all articles 
averaged according to importance, comprising 68.60 per cent of total 
expenditure." 

* Eleventh Census, " Real Estate Mortgages," introduction to tables. 

'U. S. 'Department of Agriculture, Yearbooks for period, sections on 
prices. Also Georgia State Department of Agriculture, Reports, 
market quotations. 

'Georgia Legislature, Acts, 1878-79, pp. 125-151. 



69] 



THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 



69 



Th» Debtor's Gsievance 
the appkbciating dollar, 1865-1895 



Index 



300 



«50 



200 



150 



100 



50 

























} 






h 


J 


^^ 


^ 


/ 


^ 


J 








/ 


































DT 



X865 



W75 



188$ 



1895 



The shaq> rise in the late seventies reminds one of the Greenback movement; 
that of the earljr nineties, of the Populist movement. 

The index numbers to 189 1 are derived from those for prices in the Aldrich 
Report, column for weighted averages of commodities said to comprise 68.6 per 
cent, of the total expenditures. Thereafter, they are based on the figures of the 
Bureau of Labor. 



70 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [70 

lowered on the whole, but discriminations favoring the cities 
at the expense of way stations had not been abolished.^ It 
was still possible in many cases for the urban dealer to ship 
his cotton from a greater distance at less expense than could 
the farmer or the village merchant along the way. The 
same applied to the goods they purchased. The commission 
had been able at least to mitigate these inequalities as be- 
tween points within the state, but had found itself quite 
impotent in matters of interstate traffic' Many people had 
counted upon the competition produced by the rapid develop- 
ment of new roads to correct many such abuses. Instead, 
the well-known tricks of interlocking directorates, secret 
agreements, common operating companies, and the hke only 
increased the complications of the problem.' Furthermore, 
the old schemes continued, whereby capital was raised by the 
sale of stocks to prospective patrons, and general favors 
were gained on the grounds that this particular line was to 
be owned and controlled by the people whom it served.* 
Then followed Credit-Mobilier episodes — ^very lucrative con- 
tracts being granted to inside construction companies.* 
Bonds were issued far in excess of the assets, and the pro- 
ceeds squandered " upon excessive salaries to officials, and 
sometimes upon the most absurd " improvements." The 

'Georgia Railway Commission, Reports, 1890, p. 61 ; 1892, p. 18. Also 
Ga. House Journal, 1883, p. 207. A number of complaints of such 
discriminations appeared in communications to local newspapers and 
farm journals during the time (clippings in Watson and Northern 
collections). 

'Ibid. 

'Ga. Ry. Comm., Reports, 1892, pp. 18, 26, 27; 1893^ pp. 3-17. Also 
House Journ., 1887, p. 169 ; 1888, p. 204. 

*Ga. Ry. Comm., Reports, 1892, pp. 26, 27; 1893, pp. 3-17. Cf. Thos. 
E. Watson, " People's Party Appeal," Independent, vol. Ivii, p. 829. 

'Ga. Ry. Comm., Report, 1893, pp. 3^17. 

*Ibid.; also 1892, pp. 18, 26, 27. 



71 ] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 71 

Central of Georgia road, for example, built elaborate parks 
with flower gardens and running fountains at way stations 
where a depot and one or two rustic stores were the only 
other evidences of human habitation.^ These were quite 
desirable, to be sure, but, as later ^became manifest, were 
scarcely warranted by the company's assets. The obvious 
purpose of such business was to force bankruptcy. Innocent 
investors were thus " frozen out," and the road was bought 
for a song by those who had effected the wreckage, — ^them- 
selves acting as tools perhaps of outside capitalists. Re- 
organization followed. Stock was heavily watered. Much 
of it again was sold to the public. Then probably the same 
cycle was repeated.^ A large percentage of the railway 
mileage in Georgia, as in other states, was buih in this way 
by the savings of thousands of small investors, and was 
stolen from them by financiers with the sanction of the 
courts. The commission was not only powerless to pre- 
vent such legalized robbery, but was forced by circumstances 
to permit sufficiently high rates to yield " reasonable " 
dividends upon stocks, water and all. With these things 
in mind, it is not difficult to understand how people finally 
wrought to a frenzy by accumulating grievances came to 
look upon the railway companies less as public benefactors 
than as " public plunderers." 

The railroads were not the only sinners. Other large 
corporations, especially insurance companies, were guilty 
of somewhat similar offenses.' In the cotmtry at large, the 

'One who travels that road between Savannah and Macon may still 
observe the remains of those station parks. Cf. Watson, op. cit.; 
also Ry. Comm., Report, 1892, p. 18. 

»Ry. Comm., Reports, 1892, pp. 18, 26, 27; 1893, pp. 3-17. The com- 
mission here laments these evils, complains of its impotence to prevent 
them, and finally asks for legislation regulating the issuance of stocks 
and bonds. 

'Knight, vol. ii, pp. 940-964- 



72 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [72 

trusts were making their appearance. The problems which 
they brought are too well known to call for elaboration 
here. Some of them we shall have occasion to illustrate in 
subsequent pages. 

One other local matter of an economic character demands 
some attention. Upon the backs of the farmers fell the 
burden of taxation, out of all proportion to the value of 
their property or their ability to pay.'^ Personal property 
of all kinds escaped its just share.'' All the watches, 
jewelry, and plate in the city of Atlanta, for example, was 
valued for this purpose in 1890 at only $173,000.^ Strange 
to say, as the city continued its " ricket-like " growth, such 
valuations declined, dropping to $108,000 by 1898.* One 
might judge that Atlanta was pawning its watches for sky- 
scrapers. Furthermore, the largest distributing center be- 
tween Baltimore and New Orleans, it was credited with 
only about three million dollars' worth of taxable merchan- 
dise in 1890.° But this was more than a seventh of the 
total reported in the state." In Macon one small fire de- 
stroyed a third as much goods as appeared on the tax books 
for the entire city.'' Several counties, contadning numbers 
of towns and villages almost wholly supported by the supply 
business, reported in some years no merchandise at all.* In- 
tangible property, such as stocks, bonds, notes, etc., was " sel- 

' L. ¥. Schmeckebierk, " Taxation in Georgia,'' Johns Hopkins Uni- 
versity Studies, vol. xviii, pp. 217-250. 

Ubid. 

''Georgia Comptroller-General, Report, 1890, p. 119 (figures for 
Fulton County). 

* Schmeckebier, op. cit. 

'Ga. Comp.-Gen., Report, 1890, p. 109. 

'Ibid., p. 112. 

'Schmeckebier, op. cit. 

'Ibid. 



73] THE BASIS OF AGRARIAN DISSENT 73 

dom ever returned by the owners thereof for taxation," ac- 
cording to the comptroller-general.^ Nearly half the coun- 
ties in 1890 reported none.^ Atlanta returned less than 
$400,000 worth; the entire state, only seven million.^ 
Banks were not taxed on their capital ; the holders of stocks 
were expected to pay instead.* Railroads, while generally 
required to pay state taxes after 1877, paid nothing to the 
counties through which they passed until the rise of the 
Fanners' Alliance." Dealers in fertilizers seem to have paid 
nothing as a rule on their stocks.* Throughout the list, 
those who were most prosperous were most likely to escape 
the tax gatherer. Land bore the chief burden. If it were 
mortgaged, its owner received no consideration because of 
the fact; besides, he and not the creditor must pay the tax 
on the mortgage.' Meantime the state tax rate increased 
from 2.5 mills in 1883 to 4 in 1890 and 6.2 in 1898.' 

The indirect taxes of the federal government bore upon 
the poorer classes generally in ill proportion to their ability 
to pay. The high protective tariff was particularly burden- 
some to the great mass of farmers. It tended greatly to 
increase the prices of goods which they must purchase, 
but in most cases could not increase the prices of those which 
they had to sell. Besides by curtailing foreign trade, the 
high duties tended to hamper the farmer in disposing of 
his surplus in foreign market. This no doubt was partly 

^ Schmeckebier, op. cii. 
'Ga. Comp.-Gen., Report, 1890, pp. 108-112. 
'Ihid. (figures for Fulton County, p. 109). 
* Schmeckebier. 

'Georgia, House Journ., 1888, pp. 49, 51, 204; Senate Joum., 1889, 
p. 587 ; Georgia Laws, 1889, p. 29. 
•Schmeckebier. 
'/feirf. 
'Schmeckebier, Comp.-Gen., Report, 1890, p. 123. 



74 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [74 

responsible for the apparent overproduction, and the conse- 
quent depression in prices. And the farmer felt this de- 
pression much more than did the producer who received the 
benefit of protection. 

What was the reaction of the farmers toward this situa- 
tion? 

From the mid-seventies to the early eighties, as we have 
seen, there had been a movement of protest, stimulated b> 
the Grange, by statesmen of the old school such as Toombs, 
and by political dissenters like Felton. This movement had 
declined. The Grange had reacted from over-rapid ex- 
pansion. Its cooperative ventures had gone on the rocks, 
because of the lack of sufficient financial backing, the inability 
of customers to meet its demands for a cash business, the 
opposition of the business world, mistakes of management, 
and the decay of the order itself.^ Politically, the spirit 
of dissent had been overwhelmed by a rising tide of patriotic 
fervor and race feeling. 

While a considerable number, not a very large percentage, 
of the farmers had belonged to the Grange even at its 
hight.^ Of those who had become dissenters for a time 
in politics, probably the great majority had had rather vague 
conceptions of the relationship between their economic ad- 
versity and dependence on the one hand, and the prevailing 
business and political systems on the other. Their candi- 
dates in many cases had made little or no effort to stimulate 
agrarian radicalism. Thus, while discontent with existing 
conditions had been widespread, it had not been fully artic- 
ulate. 

1 See supra, pp. 36-48. Cf. Buck, Granger Movement, passim; Agrarian 
Crusade, chs. ii-v. 

'Perhaps 25,000. According to Buck (^Granger Movt., pp. 58-59) 
there were 17,826 members in Georgia on Oct. i, 1875; but there were a 
fourth fewer granges then than on the first of the preceding Jan. 



75] THE BASIS OP AGRARIAN DISSENT 75 

From the collapse of the Independent movement in 1882 
till the appearance of the Farmers' Alliance in the State in 
1887, the attitude of the great mass of the farmers seems 
to have been one of more or less passive submission. They 
complained of the hard times, to be sure, and often of the 
hard terms imposed upon them by the business world; 
but they saw no way out, unless some stroke of luck should 
boost the price of cotton. Many became thoroughly dis- 
heartened, if they were not already so; took less pride in 
keeping up their places, less scruples about meeting their 
obligations.'^ " What's the use ? All I get out of it's a 
livin' anyway. I'll go the limit at Walker's store and let 
him worry about the balance " — seems to have expressed a 
not uncommon attitude. Others, more conscientious, toiled 
and sacrificed — and worried ! The writer is quite convinced 
that no small number of them — probably more of their 
wives — ^went to premature graves from worry over perpetual 
debt. 

Such as these were likely to be innately conservative, 
strongly patriotic, loyal to their party and its leaders, and 
slow to believe ill of those in high places. But once aroused, 
they were factors to be reckoned with. 

■C/. Otken, chs. ii and iii; also Hammond, pp. 158-160. 



CHAPTER III 
" Embattled Farmers " 

Then came the Alliance. This order was similar in 
many ways to the Grange/ It differed from the latter, 
however, in the manner of its origin and development. The 
Alliance had no single founder. It did not begin as a 
national organization with well-formed plans for its propa- 
gation. Like Topsy, it " just grew." In numerous back- 
woods communities widely scattered over the country, be- 
tween 1874 and 1886, Alliances, Unions, Wheels, and what- 
nots sprang up spontaneously.^ Each of these became a 
mother order, multiplying into neighboring communities, 
counties, states, meeting each other, amalgamating, and thus 
developing almost unconsciously into a great nation-wide 
movement. 

Such organizations had appeared in Texas, Kansas, and 
New York as early as 1874-76.* From two separate 
origins, both distinctly rural, the Texas State Alliance was 
formed in 1879 with twelve chapters.* These had multiplied 
ten- fold by 1882. Meanwhile, with apparently no con- 

' Cf. Buck, Granger Movement, pp. 302-306 ; Agrarian Crusade, ch. viii. 

' W. S. Morgan, History of the Wheel and Alliance, and the Impending 
Revolution, chs. iii, iv; National (Economist (publishers), Handbook of 
Facts and Alliance Information (pamphlet, in Lib. of Ojng.) ; F. M. 
Drew, " The Present Farmers' Movement," Pol. Sci. Qty., vol. vi, p. 282 
(Jan., 1891). See Bibliography, infra. 

' Buck, Granger Movement, pp. 302-303. 

* Morgan, pp. 91-92. 

76 [76 



yy-\ "EMBATTLED FARMERS" JJ 

nection, the Agricultural Wheel was organized in a log 
schoolhouse in the remote interior of Arkansas. Elsewhere 
in the state the Brothers of Freedom sprang up about the 
same time. These two were merged into one Wheel in 
1885. By December of the following year the Wheel had 
rolled into Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, Kentucky, Mis- 
souri, and Indian Territory.^ In the meantime the Alliance 
had crossed over from Texas to Louisiana, where it found 
the Farmers' Union already flourishing. The two amalga- 
mated, and by the end of 1887 had covered all the Southern 
states except Alabama, which was added in '89. In the 
process of expansion, several other newly formed local 
orders were absorbed. The Wheel and the Alliance came 
together in 1889 and formed the National Farmer's Alliance 
and Industrial Union.^ These orders had already spread 
into several Northern and Western states, where they en- 
countered a similar movement forming the Farmers' Alli- 
ance of the Northwest." Together, these bodies had a 
membership several times larger than the Grange had ever 
had.* The Southern branch alone claimed three million by 
1890." What enormous possibilities! 

Along what lines were the interests and activities of 
these groups being directed? Economic questions were 
paramount from the outset, it seems, with all of them. In- 
spired by the same or similar conditions, they were inclined 
to reach the same conclusions as to causes and remedies.* 

' Morgan, pp. 60, 66, 69, 72, 98. 

2/6irf., chs. iii, ix, esp. pp. 75-^5, IQ2-104, 111-147. 

'Morgan, pp. 113, 131-132. See also Buck, Agrarian Crusade, pp. 
1 17-120. 

*Cf. Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia, iSgo, p. 301 and Buck, Granger 
Movt., pp. s8-S9- 

'Appleton's, ibid. 

•Morgan, chs. iii, iv. 



78 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [78 

All realized that to some extejit the farmers themselves 
were responsible for their ills and that improvement in 
methods of cultivation and business management would aid 
somewhat in the solution of their problems. Thus round- 
table discussion, investigations and reports by members, and 
addresses by outside speakers were mingled with social 
and ritualistic functions. Later, traveling lecturers with 
some scientific knowledge of such matters were employed to 
address the various lodges.'^ Each state organization es- 
taiblished a periodical, or else adopted one already in exist- 
ence. Officials, lecturers, and editors, while not always 
agreed as to the relative value of this as compared with 
other phases of their program, urged the importance of : * 
(i) the proper use of fertilizers, improved machinery, seed 
selection, and the like; (2) reduction of the cotton acreage 
and raising of supplies; (3) strict economy in business 
management. 

Whatever value the farmers may have placed upon these 
matters, they were not inclined to regard them as all-im- 
portant. There were too many greater leaks for which 
they were not responsible, and which no amount of science, 
industry, and economy on their part could stop. For these, 
they were inclined to blame the existing business and political 
systems. It seemed to them that bankers, merchants, manu- 
facturers, railway directors, and speculators were conspiring 
together, not only to rob, but to enslave, the " toiling 
masses ; " and that politicians were in league with the op- 
pressors.* 

^Ibid., esp. pp. 65, 81, 86, 97; files of the Southern Cultivator, 1888-90; 
also of Southern Alliance Farmer (official organ for Georgia). 

'Articles in So. Cult., 1888-90; esp. Jan., '89; Mar., '89; Apr., '90. 
Also in So. Al. Far., 1889-90. 

*See account by one of the founders of the Wheel as to why it was 
formed, rMorgan, pp. 55-71. See also ibid., pp. 13-18, 93-110, 135-146, 
148-184. Cf. N. B. Ashby, Riddle of the Sphinx, pp. 437-453. 



79] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 79 

Two general lines of attack were presented — ^business 
cooperation and political action. The former was the first 
employed. Business ventures were rather modest at first. 
In various localities fertilizers and other supplies were pur- 
chased jointly through agents, appointed usually by the 
county organizations.^ In some cases crops were sold in 
the same way. The machinery was quite simple, and little 
capital was required. It soon became apparent that if the 
scale of the business were enlarged greater savings might be 
effected. Thus between 1887 and 1889 state exchanges 
were organized in most of the cotton states.^ These were 
more ambitious, dealing in almost every commodity the 
farmers bought or sold. Stocks were issued in small shares 
and sold to members of the order only. Trade advantages 
were likewise limited to members.' The exchanges met 
with considerable success for a time.* In so far as the 
members were able to break the fetters of the lien and 
avail themselves of their services, they were saved, it seems, 
as much as twenty-five to fifty per cent on the purchase of 
supplies, and considerable sums on the sale of their pro- 
ducts.' The Greorgia exchange was one of the strongest. 
Organized in 1889, it was said to have saved its patrons 
over $200,000 on fertilizers alone during the first year of 
its existence." Encouraged by the success of these enter- 

' Morgan, pp. 100-104. Cf. Ashby, pp. 371-387. 
'Morgan, pp. 115, 117, 122, 123, 125, 127, 216-246; Ashby, pp. 371-387. 
'Morgan, pp. 115-122; Alliance Department, Southern Cultivator, 
Jan., 1889. 

* See reference 2, supra. 

'See Alliance Dept., Southern Cultivator, 1889-90. Also Morgan, pp. 
IIS, 117, 122, 123, 12S, 127; Public Opinion, vol. viii, p. 523 (Mar. 8, 1890). 

* Public Opinion, op. cit. See also Alliance Department, Southern 
Cultivator, Jan., Mar., Apr., 1889; Feb., Apr., Jun., 1890; Apr., 1891. 
Also So. Al. Far., Feb. 24, Mar. 3, 1891. 



8o THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [go 

prises, cooperative stores, cotton warehouses, and gins 
sprang up like mushrooms over the South.^ Similar insti- 
tutions, adapted to the needs of each locality, arose in other 
parts of the country.^ Georgia seems to have been especially 
fertile soil in this particular also. Enthusiastic accounts of 
the progress of such imdertakings appear in increasing' 
numbers in the agricultural papers of the state for 1^9 and 
1890. Benefits were not confined to patrons. Wherever 
the " co-ops " appeared the merchants were likely to reduce 
their prices too. In many cases they were said to have 
cut them below cost, in order to hold, or regain, the far- 
mers' trade.* 

This was a part of the fight against the intruders. From 
their inception all such ventures had met with something of 
the same kinds of opposition that the Grangers had en- 
countered. Innuendo, ridicule, direct charges of dishonesty, 
dire prophesies of bankruptcy and scandal, price and rate 
discriminations on the part of wholesalers, manufacturers, 
railroads, and money lenders, as well as " cut-throat " com- 
petition, were brought to bear against them.* They were 
handicapped in such a struggle because of insufficient capital 
and credit backing. It seems that all of them were doing 
a much larger business than their modest capital warranted ; 
so that they found it necessary to borrow too heavily at high 
rates of interest.^ Besides, they probably overdid them- 
selves in reducing profit margins.® Some of them were 
doubtless betrayed by dishonest managers ; though few such 

' See files of ibid., 1889-90. 
'Ashby, pt. ii, ch. vi. 

'Ibid. Also Morgan, pp. 87-90, 117, 217, 210; files of agricultural 
papers, 1889-1893. 
*Ibid. 

'Ashby, pp. 3/76-377- 
'Ibid. 



8i] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 8l 

cases seem to have been proved.^ It is quite likely that this 
phase of their difficulties has been often exaggerated be- 
cause of the numerous slanders circulated by their enemies, 
not a few of which were shown to have been without founda- 
tion. 

The first state exchange to go under was that of Texas, 
in 1889.* Charges of dishonest management had abounded 
before the collapse, and doubtless had something to do with 
the crash. An expert employed to examine the records, 
however, found no evidences of irregularities.' He at- 
tributed the failure to the other causes mentioned above. 
An effort was made to discredit and disrupt the Georgia ex- 
change in 1890; or rather, a continuous fight against it 
reached a crisis in that year. But the storm was success- 
fully weathered until 1893.* Local enterprises met with 
similar difficulties. Many of them soon went under. 
Others were more or less prosperous, as well as helpful to 
patrons, until the disaster of a general panic was added to 
political dissentions. 

These business experiences tended greatly to strengthen 
class feeling among farmers, and to emphasize the need for 
reforms which only political action might accomplish. Both 
the Wheel and the Alliance had been stimulating thought 
and discussion in regard to governmental problems, especially 
those in which economic matters were involved." Thus a 
program had gradually evolved. As early as 1884 the 
Arkansas Wheel had called upon the state legislature to re- 
peal the laws permitting crop liens and chattel mortgages, 

lAshby, pp. 376-377, also Morgan, pp. 217-219. 
'See Ashby, pp. 376-377. 
*Ibid. 

'Files of So. Al. Far., So. Cult., 1889-1891; clippings, Northen col- 
lection; also Atlanta Constitution, Aug. 17, 1893. 
"Morgan, bk. i, chs. iii, ix, xi. 



82 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [82 

and to enact such measures as might afford relief to the 
victims. Texas Alliancemen were seeking at the same 
time to influence their legislature "to restrain the railroad 
corporations of this state from violating the plain pro- 
visions of the constitution." They soon developed an 
elaborate set of demands, resembling in important particu- 
lars those of the earlier Grangers and Greenbackers and of 
the later Populists.'^ So long as these were merely em- 
bodied in idealistic programs they seem to have been almost 
as harmless of producing dissension as they were futile of 
bringing results. But when a motion was made in the 
Texas convention of 1886 to appoint a committee to press 
them upon Congress and the state legislature, some of the 
delegates, fearing that such a step might lead to the launch- 
ing of a third party, withdrew from the meeting and 
threatened to split the order. Harmony was restored a few 
months later on the basis of an agreement that the Alliance 
should " labor for the education of the agricultural classes 
in the science of economical government," but " in a strictly 
non-partisan spirit." This statement was incorporated in 
the Declaration of Purposes of the " National " order, just 
then in tke process of formation (January, 1887).^ And 
for three years the Alliance went a-swimming without get- 
ting into the water. 

In December, 1889, a monster gathering was held in St. 
Louis.* The Southern Alliance, now come to include the 

'Morgan, pp. 70-71, 107-110. 

•Buck, Agrarian Crusade, p. 114. See also National Economist Hand- 
book {op. cit.). 

'See Morgan, pp. 147-184; Ashby, pp. 41S-419. 492-453; Haynes, Third 
Party Movements, p. 230; John R. Commons and associates, History of 
Labor in the United States, vol. ii, pp. 490-492; Appleton, Annual 
Cyclopedia, i8go, pp. 299-301 ; National Economist, vol. ii, pp. 210 et seq. 
(iDec. 21, 1889) ; Atlanta Constitution, Dec. S-9. 1889. 



83] " EMBATTLED FARMERS " 83 

Wheel and numerous lesser bodies, assembled with nineteen 
states represented. The Northwestern Alliance met there 
at the same time; likewise the National Colored Farmers' 
Alliance. Representatives were present also from the 
Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association (of the Northcentral 
states) and from the Knights of Labor. Consolidation of 
the agrarian orders and agreement with the Knights upon 
a program on which the workers of field and factory might 
unite in politics were contemplated. The chief obstacles 
in the way of fusion seem to have been ( i ) that the South- 
ern Alliance was a secret order while that of the Northwest 
was not, and (2) the Southern whites did not wish to ad- 
mit negroes on equal terms. The latter was apparently sur- 
mountable, on the basis of admitting the " darkies " on 
condition that they continue their separate lodges; but the 
former remained unmet. Friendly relations were estab- 
lished, however, and another joint conference was called, 
to meet in Washington the following February, in the hope 
that union might still be effected. A political platform was 
drawn up by a committee of the Southern Alliance in collab- 
oration with the delegates from the Knights of Labor. 
It was agreed by the representatives of these orders ^ that 
only such candidates for public office as could " be depended 
upon to enact these principles in statute law, imifluenced by 
party caucus," should receive the votes of their members. 
This was their first " yard stick " : 

I. That we demand the abolition of national banks and the 
substitution of legal tender treasury notes in lieu of national 
bank notes, issued in sufficient volume to do the business of 

'The convention of the Northwestern Alliance does not seem to have 
acted upon this particular platform, but its principles seem to have 
been essentially in accord with it. The sub-treasury scheme approved by 
the Southern order later in the session was not acceptable, it seems, to 
the Northwestern group. 



84 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [84 

the country on a cash system; regulating the amount needed 
on a per capita basis as the business interests of the country 
expands; and that all money issued by the Government shall 
be legal tender in payment of all debts, both public and private. 
3. That we demand that Congress shall pass such laws as 
shall effectually prevent the dealing in futures of all agricul- 
tural and mechanical productions; preserving a stringent sys- 
tem of procedure in trials as shall secure the prompt conviction, 
and imposing such penalties as shall secure the most perfect 
compliance with the law. 

3. That we demand the free and unlimited coinage of silver. 

4. That we demand the passage of laws prohibiting the alien 
ownership of land, and that Congress take early steps to devise 
some plan to obtain all lands now owned by aliens and foreign 
syndicates; and that all lands now held by railroad and other 
corporations in excess of such as is actually used and needed 
by them, be reclaimed by the Government and held for actual 
settlers only. 

5. Believing in the doctrine of " equal rights to all and 
special privileges to none,' we demand that taxation. National 
or State, shall not be used to build up one interest or class at 
the expense of another. We believe that the money of the 
country should be kept as much as possible in the hands of 
the people, and hence we demand that all revenues. National, 
State or County, shall be limited to the necessary expenses 
of the Government economically and honestly administered. 

6. That Congress issue a sufficient amount of fractional 
paper currency to facilitate exchange through the medium 
of the United States mail. 

7. We demand that the means of communication and trans- 
portation shall be owned by and operated in the interests of 
the people as is the United States postal system.^ 

'" The list of demands speaks volumes," says iCommons (vol. ii, p. 492), 
" for the mental subjection of the Knights of Labor to the farmers' 
movement. iNone of these demands may be called a strictly labor 
demand, and, even if certain of them tended to benefit labour, such a 



85 ] " EMBA TTLED FARMERS " 85 

It may be noticed that (financial questions were most 
prominent. From the time when Southern AlHancemen first 
began directing attention to national problems, they were 
inclined, it seems, to lay chief emphasis on these matters.* 
The influence of their predecessors and contemporaries, the 
" greenbackers " and " silverites," was obvious. The 
" heresis " which these represented had been more or less 
prevalent in the West and South for over a decade.* Al- 

benefit would be merely incidental and of minor importance. Currency 
inflation might make for a larger amount of employment, but in 1889, 
when industry had already recovered from the preceding depression, 
the matter of employment was a minor problem. The same might be 
said of the demand for reclaiming the excess of land granted to the 
railroads with its expected drain-off of the labor market. There remains 
only one demand that might lead to a tangible benefit to labor, the gov- 
ernment ownership of railroads and telegraphs, which although pri- 
marily designed to give the farmer cheaper rates, might also consider- 
ably improve the condition of railroad labor." 

' See Morgan, bk. i, introd. chs. ii, iv, v ; bk. ii, chs. i-iv. Also Ashby, 
pt. i, chs. iii, vi, viii ; pt. ii, ch. x. Also Dunning, Economist Handbook ; 
clippings Northen and Watson collections. 

•The demand for plentiful money, especially of the paper variety, 
was as old as colonial times. The idea of a currency controlled by the 
government, with a view to stabilizing price levels, by means of legal- 
tender notes interchangeable at will with government bonds, seems to 
have been first elaborated by Edward Kellogg about 1848, and urged 
by Horace Greeley in the fifties. It was taken up in connection with 
the financial problems growing out of the Civil War, being supported 
at first mainly by organized labor. They hoped in this way to obtain 
a stable, imiform, and government-controlled monetary system ; whereby 
the undue power of financial interests might be weakened, prices, busi- 
ness conditions, and hence employment, stabilized. Little was accom- 
plished except that the retirement of the greenbacks was halted. The 
fanners did not become widely interested in this movement until the 
mid-seventies. Discouraged with the results of their efforts to subject 
railways and middlemen to government control, they began agitating 
for an increase in the volume of money, hoping thereby to stay the tide 
of falling prices and appreciating debts, and to turn the trend the other 
way. Some advocated greenbacks; others, free silver. Some joined 
the Greenback party; others sought to control one or the other of the 
old parties. The Creenbackers seem to have been little active in the 



86 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [86 

liancemen adopted a sort of composite of such ideas in diag- 

South, especially in the Southeast. There were numerous silverites 
in that section, however, from the beginning of the movement, function- 
ing largely within the Democratic party. 

The reader is no doubt familiar with the origin of the silver issue. 
Until 1873 silver dollars had been freely coined at the mints along 
with gold, at a ratio of 16 to i (except for a brief period in earlier 
times, when it was 15 to i). In revising the coinage laws in that year, 
Congress abandoned the silver dollar except for a limited number of 
extra-weight " trade dollars " to be used in transactions with certain 
silver-standard countries. There had never been a great amount of 
silver coined in the country; since its commercial value had during 
most of the time been slightly greater than its coin value. About this 
time, however, the production of the metal began greatly to increase, 
due to the opening of new mines in the West. Its value soon fell below 
the old ratio; hence it became profitable to have it coined. What was 
the chagrin of its producers when they found the mints closed to them ! 
An agitation at once arose to have the time-honored money, "the 
money of the Constitution," restored to its " legal " place. Farmers — 
in fact debtors in general — were inclined to join hands with the silver 
miners; for the resumption of silver coinage would increase the volume 
of money. Many believed that the act of demonetization ("the crime 
oi '73") had grown out of a conspiracy on the part of the powerful 
creditor interest of the (East in conjunction with those of Europe, to 
maintain their control over money and credit, and preserve a large and 
appreciating dollar. Practically all historians and economists have re- 
jected the theory that there was any actual conspiracy; though some 
have thought that the law did furnish a genuine grievance to the debtor 
class. To say the least, it was very opportune for the creditors. The 
silverites were able to marshal sufficient strength, mostly through 
Western iRepublicans and Southern Democrats, to pass a compromise 
measure (the Bland-Allison Act) over the veto of President Hayes 
in 1878; authorizing the secretary of the treasury to purchase not less 
than $2,000,000 nor more than $4,000,000 worth of silver at the market 
price each month, and to coin the same into dollars. The volume of 
money considerably increased for a time, and prices went upward. 
There was a lull for a while in the agitation for unlimited coinage; but 
as times grew worse for the farmers, and for debtors in general, in the 
late eighties and early nineties, it rose again with redoubled strength. 

On the Greenback philosophy and movement, see E. B. Usher, The 
Greenback Movement ; Sam'l Leavitt, Our Money Wars ; Jas. A. Wood- 
bum, Thaddeus Stevens, chs. xi, xxi, xxii (especially good interpreta- 
tion) ; Commons, vol. ii, pp. 1 19-124; 235-300 (probably the best account 



87] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 87 

nosing financial ills and in prescribing for their treatment, 
adding others of their own from time to time. 

The volume of money, they urged, was (i) inadequate, 
(2) inelastic, and (3) controlled by a powerful and heart- 
less money trust.^ That it was inadequate was evidenced, 
they said, by the abnormally low and constantly falling prices. 
They believed that the general level of prices was determined 
essentially by the volume of money in circulation as com- 
pared with the volume of goods to be purchased. The views 
of J. S. Mill, Francis A. Walker, and other economists were 
cited in support of the quantity theory.^ No one could rea- 
sonably deny, it was said, an important tendency in that 
way. Creditors opposed " inflation " as bitterly as debtors 
denounced " contraction." While there had been no direct 
policy of contraction on the part of the government since 
reconstruction times, the per-capita circulation had rather 
rapidly declined until near the end of the seventies." Prices 
had dropped in the meantime.* Between 1879 and 1883, 
per-capita circulation had increased: prices had gone up 

of labor's attitude). Interesting light is thrown' on the movement by 
Haynes, Third Party Movements; Haynes, Weaver; Benj. F. Butler, 
Butler's Book. For full titles and further references, see Bibliography. 
'This diagnosis is common in the literature of the Alliance generally, 
see e. g., the The Report of the Committee on the Monetary System at 
the St. Louis Convention, Morgan, pp. 176-184; also W. A. Peffer, The 
Farmer's Side, pt. ii; also Ashby, Dunning, and others listed in the 
Bibliography. 

•See e. g., Morgan, bk. ii, passim, esp. ch. i. 

'Following are the government estimates of the per capita circulation 
during the period as found in the V. S. Sta. Abs., 1903, Frontis.: 

1871 18.10 1876 16.12 1881 .... 21.71 1886 21.82 

1872 18.19 1877 15.58 1882 22.37 1887 .... 22.45 

1873 .... 18.04 1878 .... 15.32 1883 .... 22.91 1888 .... 22.88 

1874 .... 18.13 1879 . . • . 16.75 1884 .... 22.65 1889 .... 22.52 
1^5 .... 17.16 1880 .... 19.41 1885 .... 23.02 1890 .... 22.82 

* Cf. price curve on p. 88 with table, supra. 



88 



THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA 



[88 



A Sixty- Yeak Sbgment of the Price Toboggan 

CUKVE FOR THE UNITED STATES AND FOR THE CHIEF COMUERCIAL COUNTRIES 

OP THE WORLD 

Saiiex number 



220 














k 










i 


200 

180 


\ 










/ 


\ 










/ 


160 

XMO 


\ 










1 


1 } 


^^tJBitOd 


States 






1 












1 


120 
100 

80 
60 

tto 

20 







A 






rl 




World * 


V 


V i 


^ 










\J 








































nr 



I860 



1870 



1880 



1890 



1900 



1910 



1920 



The curve for the United States is based on the index numbers compiled by 
Ralph G. Hurlin from the Aldrich Report and the Statistics of the Bureau of 
Labor, Annalut, April 11, 1921. That for the world is based on the computa- 
of Irving Fisher, Stabilizin the Dollar, ch. x. 



89] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 89 

with it. Then it fell off; and so did prices. The parallel 
was indeed remarkable, though it was not exact. Prices fell 
more precipitately and rose more slowly each time. Thus 
by 1890, while the price level was much lower than in 1870, 
the per capita circulation was somewhat greater. " Sound- 
money " advocates were thus able to argue that there had 
been on the whole no real contraction, but in fact an ex- 
pansion. Agrarians retorted with equal truth that expan- 
sion had not kept pace with the growing volume of goods.^ 
And this, rather than population, according to the quantity 
theory, was the other side of the equation. Thus measured, 
circulation had fallen behind fully as much, it seems, as 
prices had declined. It was not, however, that the volume 
of money had grown too slowly, conservatives were inclined 
to hold; rather, the volume of goods had outgrown the 
demand: the real trouble was overproduction.^ 

This to the radical agrarians was the height of absurdity.* 
They could not believe that producers were impoverished 
because they had produced too much. J. S. Mill and others 
were cited to show that a general overproduction is im- 
possible; that phenomena resembling such may result from 
a dislocation in the system of exchange produced by an in- 
sufficient volume of money.* They knew that the market 

' See e. g., Morgan, pt. ii ; Peffer, pt. iii. 

'See criticism of overproduction theory as applied to agricultural 
depression at that time by W. A, Coutts, in "Agricultural Depression 
in the U. S.," Publications of Mich. Pol. Sc. Assn., vol. ii, no. 6, Apr., 
1897. See also G. W. Davis, "Why the Farmer is Not Prosperous," 
Forum, vol. ix, pp. 231-241 (Apr., 1890) ; C. S. Walker, "The Farmers' 
Movement," Annals of Amer. Acad., vol. iv, p. 790, cf. Haynes, Third 
Party Movements, p. 222. 

^Morgan, pt. ii, jchs. v, xiii; National Economist, Nov. 2, 1889 (edl.) ; 
People's Party Paper, Nov. 26, 1891. 

*See e. g., Morgan, pt. ii, chs. i, v. Cf. J. S. Mill, in Palgrave, Dic- 
tionary of Pol. Ec, vol. iii, p. 45. 



90 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [90 

might be glutted for a time with particular commodities 
as compared with others; ibut when for long periods there 
is an apparent excess of goods in general, and when at the 
same time various groups of producers are inadequately 
supplied with each other's products, they felt that the expla- 
nation is to be sought elsewhere.^ Too much produced? 
The makers of clothes were underfed : the makers of food 
were underclad. The mills could not take the farmers' cot- 
ton because there was not enough demand for clothes; the 
farmers went in rags in the meantime because there was not 
enough demand for their cotton. The Western wheat 
farmers were scarcely able to get expenses for their crops; 
yet flour bread was a luxury indulged only on rare occasions 
by many of the cotton growers. Per capita consumption of 
the most necessary articles sometimes declined in the face of 
a greater production and a lower price — '' a famine in the 
midst of plenty." 

There was undoubtedly a great deal of loose talk about 
overproduction.'' If the term implied that more goods in 
general were produced than there was need for, it was non- 
sense. If it merely indicated an excess of a limited group 
of commodities, it did not cover this situation; for too 
many commodities were suffering in the same way. If it 
meant that production in general tended to exceed the 
economic demand, it only stated an obvious fact without 
explaining anything. Why wasn't there an economic de- 
mand? Perhaps because there was under-consumption. 
Which seems to explain just about as little. To be sure, 

•/6trf. See also Natl. Econ., op. cit.; People's Party Paper, op. cit.; 
Peffer, pt. ii ; speech of T. E. Watson, Congressional Record, S2d Cong., 
1st Sess., pp. 1250-1255; Public Opinion, vol. ix, p. iii (May 10, 1890) ; 
ibid., vol. viii, p. 271. 

»C/. W. A. Coutts, "Agricultural Depression in the U. S." in Publica- 
tions of Mich. Pol. Sci. Assn., vol. ii, no. 6, ch. ii. 



91 J " EMBATTLED FARMERS " 91 

undue attention to a single crop tended to aggravate the 
farmers' difficulties by increasing the surplus on a poorly 
functioning market; but it may well be questioned whether 
this were the basic cause of their troubles. It seems doubt- 
ful also whether the vast increase in production occasioned by 
the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions need necessarily 
have caused a general and long-continued decline in price 
levels, but for certain faults in the system of distribution, 
not the least of which, perhaps, was an unresponsive 
monetary system. 

The silverites held that the fundamental cause of the 
trouble was the maintenance of the single gold standard in 
face of the fact that the world's supply of the precious metal 
was not increasing in proportion to the output of other pro- 
ducts; so that gold, the measure of values, was growing 
dearer.^ Thus it required an ever-increasing number of 
pounds, yards, or bushels to obtain a dollar or to pay a 
debt. They pointed to the fact that in gold-standard 
countries, generally, prices were tumbling in much the 
same way; while in those on a silver standard they were 
going up.^ The output of silver was increasing, had been 
increasmg since shortly before it was demonetized in the 
United States. They believed that to be the reason why 
the " Money Power " of this country had " conspired " 
with similar interests in Europe under the leadership of 

'The ideas of the silverites, even in these early stages of their agita- 
tions, are scattered over innumerable sources. A few references may 
suffice here. See e. g., Morgan, pt. ii, chs. i-v; Ashby, pt. i, ch. vi; 
Peffer, pts. ii, iii; Peffer, "Mission of the Populist Party,'' in North 
Am. Rev., vol. clvii, p. 665; J. T. Morgan, "Danger of the Farmers' 
Alliance," in Forum, vol. xii, pp. 359-409; Pub. Op., vol. viii, p. 413; 
F. E. Haynes, James Baird Weaver, chs. vii-xiii; speeches of L. F. 
Livingston, T. E. Watson, and others in Georgia dailies, 1889-90 (also 
in Northen and Watson collections). 

'See ibid. Cf. Irving Fisher, Why the Dollar is Shrinking (1914) 
ch. X. 



92 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [92 

British financiers to have their governments restrict the 
coinage o£ silver in the seventies, so that the gold basis 
became fixed for the greater part of the industrialized 
world.'^ They had come to control, in large measure, the 
supply of this metal, it was said; and were alarmed lest 
the growing volume of silver (which at the time the law was 
passed had about reached a parity with gold, and threatened 
to sink below) ^ should flow into the mints, and weaken in 
time their financial supremacy. This they had effectually 
forestalled, for the time at least, by having silver deprived 
of the coinage rights which it had held from the beginning 
of our history. Thus the radicals demanded that these 
rights be restored on a basis of the old ratio. Free the 
people from the despotism of the " money kings," they 
said: throw open the highway of exchange (the circulating 
medium), which these had so long obstructed, and upon 
which they had exacted tribute, like the medieval barons 
from their castle hights.^ Give both metals an equal chance. 
Money would then be freer. Prices would recover. Credit 
would be obtainable on less extortionate terms. If debts 
became payable in fewer products (" cheaper money "), the 
debtors would only be obtaining historic justice, in regain- 
ing something of the premium they had been paying for 
twenty-five years.* 

But the remonetization of silver, it was felt, would not 
solve the entire problem.^ It would not regulate the flow 

•Morgan, pt. ii, chs. i, iv; Watson, People's Party Campaign Book 
(1892) ch. xi. Cf. later platforms of the People's Party, infra. 

'See ibid. Cf. U. S. Statistical Abstract, 1903, p. 58. 

'Peffer, pt. iii, ch. xiv, especially pp. 209-210; quotations from J. B. 
Weaver, the report of the Silver Commission, et. al. in Morgan, pt. ii, 
passim, esp. ch. iii. Cf. Haynes, Weaver, chs. vii, viii. 

'Morgan, pt. ii, ch. iv; Peffer, pts. iii, v. 

s Morgan, pt. ii, chs. iii, vi ; Peffer, pt. iii, chs. xiv-xx. 



93] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 93 

of money and credit to meet the strain at harvest season 
and in other emergencies. It would not stabilize prices. 
The scale of values would still be a variable, dependent to 
a large extent upon the vicissitudes of the precious metal 
industry. They were inclined to believe that it would help 
in this regard.^ Most of them seem to have believed that a 
parity could be maintained, and both metals kept in circula- 
tion more or less freely. The mints would tend to drink up 
from the markets the surplus of the more plentiful metal. 
Thus if the amount of one continued to increase more rapidly 
than the other, it would tend to supply the deficiency in the 
volume of money. If, as conservatives claimed would be 
the case, silver became the standard of value, would it not 
be a fairer measure, since its volume was increasing more 
nearly in keeping with that of other commodities? It was 
still felt, however, especially by the Greenbacker element, 
that stability of values and elasticity of money and credit 
demanded government control and regulation of all paper 
money. To accomplish this it would be necessary to do 
away with national bank notes. And herein lay a problem 
which to some of the agrarians was no less important than 
that of the standard. 

The laws establishing the national banking system, like 
many other measures which grew out of Civil War, were 
regarded as class legislation of the most flagrant t3rpe.^ It 
was largely by means of the advantages gained in this way, 
it was said, that a relatively small group of men had obtained 
so powerful a hold upon the economic life of the country. 

^See reference I, p. 91. 

'Again possible references are innumerable. See e. g., Morgan*, bk. i, 
chs. ii-v, bk. ii, chs. i-vi; Peffer, pt. ii, esp. chs. vii, ix, x, xii; Haynes, 
Weaver, chs. vii, xii; Haynes, Third Party Movements, pts. iii, iv. 
Benj. F. Butler, Butler's Book, ch. xx; Watson, chs. i, x; Tom Watson's 
Magazine, vol. ii, p. 6. 



94 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [94 

Already in control of a large part of the free capital, parti- 
cularly the gold, they had taken advantage of the financial 
straits of the government during the war, and had dictated 
the terms on which they would come to the rescue. The 
abnormal demand for gold had soon placed it at a premium 
and virtually driven it from circulation. It had become a 
commodity, bringing twice, and for a time much more 
than twice, its nominal monetary value, in terms of the 
paper money in circulation. Under the national banking 
system, established in this emergency, the bankers had pur- 
chased the bonds of the government for paper ; had received 
full interest in gold; had been granted circulating notes up 
to ninety per cent of their value; had loaned this second 
edition of the same investment to the people at another in- 
terest; and, finally, had had their bonds redeemed in gold 
at their face value.^ In this way they had got back what 
they had loaned to the government several times over, and 
had had only a portion of it tied up in the meantime. No 
wonder they had come into possession of so large a por- 
tion of the country's wealth, said the radicals, and had 
gained such power over money and credit. The national 
banks still drew circulating notes from the government. 
Controlling this portion of the country's money entirely and 
no small part of the rest of it, they held a leverage " whereby 
they could, to a very large extent, determine credit condi- 
tions; and, to some extent, even price levels. Why should 
the government continue to borrow from the banks, then 
create money supposedly based on the loan, and give it to 

'While often extreme in their language and inclined to exaggerate 
on particular points, the radicals seem to have been essentially correct 
in their charges that financial interests had gained enormous advantages 
under the financial policies in question. See Dewey, Financial History, 
chs. xii-xv ; Woodburn, Thaddeus Stevens, chs. xi, xxi, xxii. 

'See, especially, Report of Committee on the Monteary System at 
St Louis, in Morgan, pp. 176-183. 



95] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 95 

the banks to lend to the people? Why should it not issue 
its own money directly, lending it to the hard-pressed pro- 
ducers on reasonable terms ? 

This idea gave rise to a plan of rural credit, which for 
some reason was not included in the main platform at St. 
Louis, but embodied in the report of the Committee on the 
Monetary System, appointed by the Southern Alliance. The 
report was sulbmitted to this body on the last day of its 
session, and " after an animated discussion, was adopted by 
a large majority." ^ The most vulnerable scheme in all their 
programs, it probably would not have received the support 
of the committee from the Knights of Labor which collab- 
orated on the main platform. Nor was it supported, it 
seems, by the Northwestern Alliance ; ^ nor by any means 
unanimously in the Southern body. All of which probably 
accounts for the manner in which it was introduced. It 
came for a time to overshadow all other issues, at least in 
some localities; it was the chief target of the opposition 
press, the chief pet of a number of radical leaders, and the 
chief cause of dissension within the order. 

Known as the " sub-treasury plan," it provided ' that the 
federal government establish in every county that offered 
for sale in one year as much as $500,000 worth of farm pro- 
ducts, a suib-treasury office, and with it a warehouse or 
elevator. To this the farmer might bring " nonperishable " 
products, — such as grain, cotton, tobacco, wool, etc. — ^have 
them weighed, graded, and stored, and for them receive a 
certificate of deposit. He should then be permitted to bor- 

' Morgan, p. 175. 

'Ashby, p. 419. 

'Morgan, pp. 180-181 ; Peffer, pp. 244-247; Watson, chs. xiv, xvi; 
C. C. Post, " The Sub-Treasury Plan," Arena, vol. v, pp. 342-353 (Feb., 
1892) ; Testimony of Macune and Livingston before the Ways and 
Means Committee of Congress, in Atlanta Constitution, May 15-22, i8go. 



c>6 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [96 

row legal-tender notes issued by the "sub-treasury" office 
up to eighty per cent of the market price of the products 
he had stored, at a nominal interest — ^the committee sug- 
gested one per cent. He should also pay a small fee " for 
handling and storage, and a reasonable amount for insur- 
ance." The money borrowed should be returned with in- 
terest before the products could be removed. The certif- 
icate of deposit, bearing a record of the loan, should be 
negotiable. Thus if the farmer who had stored cotton in 
October thought the market right for a sale in February, he 
might transfer his deposit slip to a buyer, receiving in re- 
turn the market price less the amount of the loan. The 
buyer could obtain the product direct from the warehouse, 
or else re-sell the certificate. AH products must be removed 
within a year; otherwise they should be sold at public 
auction. 

Realizing the difficulties which the farmers had exper- 
ienced in obtaining credit, and in having to sell on a glutted 
market, often seeing what should have been their profits 
pass to middlemen or speculators, one can well appreciate 
the motives behind this scheme. In so far as the principle 
of government credit to producers is concerned, it is diffi- 
cult to see wherein this would have been any more " pa- 
ternalistic " or unfair than the numerous favors constantly 
accorder to bankers, manufacturers, railroads, and other 
businesses.^ That the situation demanded either less favor- 
itism to other groups or basic measures of relief to the 
agricultural class seems perfectly patent. This particular 
scheme, however, was open to grave objections. Among 
other things, it would have given the farmers a power over 
consumers which might have been much abused. 

'As was often pointed out by the agrarians. See e. g. speeches and 
communications by Macune, Livingston, Watson, et al. in Atlanta Con- 
stitution, May 14-22, Aug. 30, Oct. 17; also Morgan, pt. ii, chs. i-iii; 
Peffer, passim, esp. pp. 2^1-264. 



97] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 97 

In a sense, it was probably unfortunate for AUiancemen 
that the scheme was put forth, at least in that form ; for it 
enabled their opponents to concentrate their fire upon a par- 
ticularly vulnerable spot, threw them on the defensive, and 
tended to divide their councils. The great dailies of the 
North and some of the lesser ones of the West and South 
were fully alive to the opportunity. The St. Paul Pioneer 
Press compared it with a scheme to level the Rockies.^ 
" The Farmers ' Alliance does not want money," said the 
Philadelphia North American.'' " It wants due bills. It 
wants pawn tickets; and though its chiefs do not know a 
mowing machine from a mully grub, they want the earth." 
The New York Commercial Advertiser could not decide 
which was the wilder, the sub-treasury scheme or govern- 
ment ownership of railroads.* 

Various other points in their program came in for a 
greater or less share of ridicule and abuse. " The new lights 
want to abolish the national banks," said the Philadelphia 
North American, " though but for the national banJcs most 
of them would have been in the poor house twenty years 
ago."* TheAlliance was regarded as adisease." The farmers 
were caricatured as bewhiskered cranks, varying between 
harmless lunacy and something like the more modern con- 
ception of Bolshevik viciousness. They were socialists in 
disguise, led off by unscrupulous, self-seeking politicians 
into dangerous heresies, which none of them understood. 

' Quoted in Public Opinion, vol. ix, p. 408 (Aug. 9, 1890). 

*In ibid., vol. x, p. 218 (Dec. 13, 1890). 

*Ibid., vol. ix, p. 408. The sub-treasury scheme "verges on im- 
Ijecility," said the Minneapolis Tribune, adding, ..." There is plenty of 
money to be borrowed upon good land mortgage security." Pub. Op., 
vol. ix, p. 168 (May 31, i8go). 

*Ibid., vol. x, p. 218. 

'Ibid. 



98 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [98 

Kansas, where the " disease " was especially malignant, 
called forth from the New York Evening Post the widely 
quoted commentary, " We don't want any more states until 
we can civilize Kansas." ^ Not only partisan editors, but 
the non- farming classes generally, — ^with a few exceptions, — 
apparently failed to appreciate rural conditions and pro- 
blems.^ 

To some extent, no doubt, the extravagant language in 
which the more radical agrarians were wont to clothe their 
ideas had a tendency to alienate many liberals who might 
otherwise have regarded their cause more sympathetically. 
The most heated utterances of one-time Greenbackers, 
Union Laborites, and others of unorthodox persviasions 
were appropriated along with many of their ideas. The 
country was pictured a la Weaver, as " in the grasp of a 
gigantic, cold-blooded money trust, which . . . usurps 
the sovereignty of the nation, mocks at the suffering of its 
victims, and relies upon the painful ' necessities ' of the 
stitution to keep them in subjection." ° The history of the 
Alliance officially adopted at St. Louis bore as a part of its 
title, The Impending Revolution; though a perusal of its 
contents reveals no forecasting of guillotines.* 

Then too, especially at this stage of the movement, many 
of their leaders were raw,° and their programs were still in 
the rough. They were not quite sure whether to place the 

' See article in reply by J. W. Gleed, " Is New York More Civilized 
than Kansas ? " in Forum, vol. xvii, pp. 217-234. 

*Cf. J. M. Rusk (iSecy. of Agric. under Benj. iHarrison), "The Duty 
of the Hour," in A''. Am. Rev., vol. clii, pp. 423 et seq. (Apr., i8pi). 

'Morgan, p. 481. 

*The full title of Morgan's book, as adopted by the Alliance, was 
History of the Wheel and Alliance, and the Impending Revolution. 
Resolution of adoption, Morgan (third ed.), p. 158. 

'For characterizations of chief leaders, see Hamlin Garland, "The 
Alliance Wedge in Congress," Arena, vol. v, pp. 447-457 (Mar., 1892). 



gg ] " EMBA TTLED FARMERS " 99 

greater emphasis on silver or greenbacks; or whether the 
latter should be based upon products as security, upon inter- 
changeable bonds, or simply upon the wealth of the country 
and the power of the government. They were undecided on 
the transportation problem. The majority at St. Louis 
were of the opinion that regulation had failed; and hence 
they called for government ownership, though against 
the advice of their president.^ The tariff wasi a par- 
ticularly delicate question. While the Southerners were 
almost unanimously opposed to high protection, the 
Westerners were not so sure about it. Besides, in- 
dustrial laborers, to whom they appealed for cooperation in 
politics, were by no means a unit on the tariff question. 
Thus the word was not mentioned in the platform, but the 
implication of Rank 5 was clear. The Alliancemen and 
their successors, the Populists, probably undervalued as a 
rule the importance of the tariff as one of the causes of the 
existing depression among farmers. Feeling that it was 
too often used to becloud other issues, they were afraid of 
being sidetracked. Their ideas for the more equitable ad- 
justment of taxation in general were not yet fully defined. 
Nor were they specific as to how the lands held by railroads 
and other corporations in excess of their needs were to be 
reclaimed. Speculation in the markets should be prohibited 
— ^but how ? We shall trace the further evolution of theif 
program in the next chapter. 

It may be noticed that the St. Louis convention was essen- 
tially concerned with national affairs. So in the main were 
the farmers back at home. In Georgia, as we shall see, and 
apparently in other states more or less, even gdbernatorial 
campaigns turned largely upon national issues. Hence some 
knowledge of these matters is essential to an understanding 
of the course of events in a particular state. 

'Morgan, p. 153. 



lOO THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [loo 

Down in Georgia an already heated contest was only 
further stimulated by news of the happenings at St. Louis. 
Organizations of the farmers had proceeded rapidly since 
the first sub-Alliance had appeared in the state in March, 
1887.^ In less than three years there were well over two 
thousand lodges in Georgia and more than a hundred thous- 
and members.^ Rural school houses and other meeting 
places were periodically filled with eager and indignant 
farmers. Occasionally 'barbecues and picnics brought hun- 
dreds — even thousands — from surrounding communities to 
listen to the itinerant " lecturer," who as time went on, 
seems to have told them less about seed selection and more 
about trusts. Some knowledge of these they had already 
gained. They had had experience.* Besides, they were 
reading agricultural papers, books and tracts written for 
their special benefit by Alliancemen themselves. Then, too, 
in most of the lodges some members had at least a fair 
degree of education, and hence were able to delve into more 
pretentious works.* Some of these seem to have developed 
unexpected forensic ability. 'Not a few also developed 
strong desires to participate directly in reforming the laws 
of state and nation. Why not? Had not the lawyers and 
business men had their day? Had not the rule of the 
"court-house rings " well earned its death? Thus by the 
summer of 1889 the farmers were planning a general house- 
cleaning for the following year. 

The introduction of politics into the Alliance had naturally 
met with strenuous opposition. The daily press, many of 

'Morgan, pp. n6-ii8; Farmers' Alliance Department in Southern 
Cultivttior, 1888-1890. 
' ^Southern Cultivator, Aug., 1889, p. 408, Sep., 1889, p. 472. 

3 Trouble with the jute bagging trust in particular; see p. 104, infra. 

* Evidenced by the articles from rural correspondents' in Northen 
and Watson collections. 



lOiJ "EMBATTLED FARMERS" loi 

the small-town weeklies, and the more conservative agricul- 
tural papers like the Southern Cultivator (in fact, some of 
their own organs) had solemnly warned the order to be- 
ware of political activity.^ It would wreck their organiza- 
tion. Besides, there was danger of its leading to a division 
of the white vote — and a return of the horrors of recon- 
struction times! Surely the farmers were too sensible to 
be duped by scheming politicians. If the current rumors 
that such interlopers were seeking to " ride the AlUiance 
horse into office " proved true, the members would " with- 
draw from it immediately." ^ Such advice was not without 
effect, at least for a time. Notices that certain sub-Alliances 
had passed resolutions condemning the use of the order for 
political purposes sprinkled the coltmms of the press through 
1889 and on into the siunmer of 1890. But opposition 
from within the order was evidently dwindling. 

The chief fear seems to have been that a third party would 
be launched. It was known that such was contemplated 
from some quarters as a possible outcome of the St. Louis 
gathering.* Hence the proceedings were eagerly followed, 
and a sense of relief was in evidence generally when it be- 
came known that the scheme had met with a cold response. 
Georgia Alliancemen — Pleaders and all — ^were overwhelm-" 
ingly against the idea of a third party at this time.* There 
was apparently no need for one. The great majority of the 

'{Editorials and correspondence in Georgia dailies, in So. Cult., Natl. 
Econ., Georgia Farmers' Alliance Advocate (unofficial organ of con- 
servative element) : clippings from these and other sources in Northen 
collection. 

^iClippings, Northen collection, especially quotation from Talbotton 
(Ga.) New Era in Farm. Al. Dept., So. Cult., Jan., 1888. See also 
" Alliance and Wheel Politicians," National Econ., Sept. 21, 1889. 

•Qipping, Northen and Watson collections. 

*Ibid. 



I02 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [102 

voters were Democrats, and the great majority of the De- 
mocrats were farmers. Besides, the workers of the towns 
would probably support a popular movement to overthrow 
the " bosses." 

It would thus be a simple matter if the farmers would act 
together. Make the Alliance platform the "yard-stick." 
Support only those candidates who would endorse, and who 
might be counted upon to stand by, its provisions. De- 
mand primaries in every county, and go to the polls en 
masse. 

But time showed that it was easier to formulate a program 
than to carry it out. iCandidates were nimierous, and each 
was soon possessed of a following, so that factional divi- 
sions became threatening. Friendly advice from the press 
was conflicting. Even their own organs were at variance. 

There were two candidates in the field for governor by 
the summer of 1889, though the election was more than a 
year off, — :L. F. Livingston and W. J. Northen.^ Both 
were planters. Both had war records. Both had consider- 
able experience in politics — having served several terms to- 
gether, first in the lower, then in the upper, house of the 
state legislature. After the resignation of Colquitt about 
1884, each in turn had been president of the State Agricul- 
tural Society, a venerable and conservative body, long pos- 
sessed of considerable influence in politics.^ Both were in 
their fifties, well known and highly respected. The one a 
Presbyterian and the other a Baptist, they had taken lead- 
ing parts in the councils of their respective churches." They 

'Biographical sketches of Livingston in Morgan, pp. 313-316; Knight, 
p. 967; Biog. Congl. Diet. Of Northen, in White's National Cyclopedia 
of American Biography, vol. xv, p. 4; Knight, p. 965; others in Northen 
collection. 

'Data in Northen collection. 

'See references to Morgan and White, supra. 



I03] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 103 

were destined, no doubt, to further political preferment, 
even had there been no Alliance. Neither had formerly been 
regarded as radical by any means, but both had become 
prominent in the Alliance movement. Livingston at this 
time was president of the state organization. He was " a 
bom strategist," says Knight, with " no superior .... in 
playing the game of politics." ^ A member of the Com- 
mittee on the Monetary System at St. Louis, he was said 
to have been joint author (with C. W. Macune) of the sub- 
treasury plan." He was regarded by some as considerably 
in advance of the rank and file of the movement at this time. 
Northen was more conservative. Still president of the State 
Agricultural Society, he was more at home in that body.' 
He became an active Allianceman, however, addressed a: 
number of its gatherings, and showed much sympathy with 
its general aims.* 

In the main, the more radical element in the Alliance op- 
posed Northen and favored Livingston. Northen was said 
to be " a politician of the Gordon type; " to be secretly in 
league with the corporations, and subtly scheming with the 
" silk-hat bosses." " Absurd rumors were circulated against 
him. Though a Georgian by birth, and one of the most 
successful planters of the state, he was widely reputed to be 
a Pennsylvania " yankee," and a " fake farmer " who had 
nothing to offer the toad under the harrow but consolation 

'Knight, vol. ii, p. 967. 

^Ovingston and Macune defended the plan before the Ways and 
Means Committee of Congress in May, 1890. See Constitution, May 
iS-23, 1890. 

•The writer was assured of this by Mrs. Northen (his widow) and 
Miss Annie Bell Northen (his daughter) in personal interview, July, 1918. 

'Northen collection. 

'Excerpts in ibid, from Southern Alliance Farmer — editorials, and 
correspondence from rural contributors, especially from one signing 
himself "Henry County Farmer." 



I04 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [104 

and advice.^ He did emphasize (quite properly of course) 
the need for improved methods, diversification of crops, 
etc., but this was not his entire stock in trade. He had 
taken a leading part, as he often pointed out, in the fight 
against the jute trust.^ The manufacturers of jute bagging, 
used as covering for cotton bales, had formed a combine 
and considerably advanced the price of their product, 
Northen had been one of the prime movers (though Living- 
ston had divided honors with him) in a boycott, conducted 
with remarkable success by AUiancemen throughout the cot- 
ton belt.* He believed the attack upon the monetary system 
to be in the right direction.* The volume of money should 
be increased, made more elastic, and (above all) made 
available to the farmers on more reasonable terms. He 
was in no haste to commit himself to the sub-treasury scheme 
in particular. As to state issues, he favored improvement 
of the rural schools, thought the government could be more 
economically administered, and stood for the maintenance 
of the railway commission.^ He thought the roads should 
have the right of appeal to the courts, however.' This, said 
the radicals, would virtually nullify the force of the commis- 
sion. But Northen contended that it would only insure jus- 
tice to all parties concerned. He repeatedly urged that, despite 
his natural sympathy for the farmer, he was " not the can- 
didate of a single class, but the champion of the rights of 

'Clippings, ibid. 

'See his speeches and writings during this period. Northen collection; 
also in Southern Cultivator, Jan., 1889; Knight, pp. 965-972. 

'Morgan, p. 118; Knight, pp. 965-972; So. Cult., Jan., Apr., Oct., 1889 
articlebyNortheninApr.no.). D 

*See contributions from Northen and reports of his speeches in 
Atlanta Constitution, Mar. 28, i8go; So. Cult., iS8i^-go, especially Mar., 
'89 and Apr., '90; others in Nor. colln. 

'Ibid.; also So. Cult., June, 1889. 

*Ibid., esp. speech at Thompson, Ga., May 28, 1890. 



lOS ] " EMBA TTLED FARMERS " 1 05 

all." ^ Abuses should be corrected as far as possible, but 
with due regard for legitimate business. 

Livingston and his supporters thought the " yard-stick " 
should be rigorously applied, sub-treasury and all.^ This 
would not only help to solve the gubernatorial question, but 
would also draw the line against many of the " ring " poli- 
ticians, now hastening to " climb on the band wagon " by 
more or less qualified endorsement of the Alliance program 
— usually minus the sub-treasury.^ Reform was in the air. 
It was surprising how many of the old leaders had long 
been convinced of the wisdom of much that Alliancemen noW 
demanded. Indeed most of the Georgia Congressmen had 
supported free silver or else a compromise in that direction, 
and had opposed a high protective tariff.* Various office 
holders had advocated to a greater or less extent other 
measures now in the foreground. But they were said to 
have dallied with party caucuses and submitted too often to 
ineffective compromises.^ The emergency demanded men 
of definite convictions and fixed purpose. Hence let all 
candidates now stand up and be measured. 

All must subscribe to the St. Louis program. In ad- 
dition, those who stood for state or local offices must pass 
another test. This came to include : * 

'Contributions from Livingston and others, also editorials, in So. Al. 
Far., winter of 1889-09 (in Northen collection). 

*Ihid. 

*See e. g., vote on Bland Bill and Bland-Allison Act, Congl. Rec, 
4Sth Cong., 1st Sess., p. 241 ; ibid., 2nd Sess., pp. 11 12, 1420. 

"Files of Southern Alliance Farmer, 1889-90; speeches of Thos. E. 
Watson, et al., Watson collection. 

*OMcial Proceedings of Third Annual Sess. of the Farmers' State 
Alliance of Georgia, . . . Aug. 19-21, 1890 (in Lib. of 'Cong.) ; Proceedings 
of State Dem. Conv., Aug. 7, 1890 (in Constitution, Aug. 8, 1890). See 
also Constn., Aug. 20-22. 



Io6 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [io6 

(i) Enlargement of the powers of the railway commis- 
sion to cover other public service corporations, and strict 
enforcement of the laws against discriminations, and against 
interchange of stock, etc., by competing roads ; 

(2) Abolition of the convict lease system as soon as 
the existing lease expired, placing the convicts on the public 
roads; and other prison reforms, including the establish- 
ment of juvenile reformatories ; 

(3) Revision of the tax system with a view to lighten- 
ing the burden on the masses of the people ; 

(4) Extension of the public school system; 

( 5 ) Laws to insure fair primaries and elections. 

The farmers did not do all of the talking, of course, or 
even all of the planning. Early in the race a good many 
papers realized the futility of further advice against poli- 
tical action. It was inevitable. 

The Constitution seems to have been the first of the 
dailies to embrace the movement. Grady, it may be re- 
called, was managing editor of this organ until his death in 
December, 1889. While interested more especially in the 
industrial development of his state and section, he was by 
no means indifferent toward agrarian problems. One of 
his best speeches was made to a gathering of farmers at 
Elberton, Ga., in June, 1889.^ In this, as in many of his 
editorials, he showed that he had come to appreciate their 
problems and to S3mipathize with the fundamental aims of 
their movement. It was through the Democratic party, of 
course, that he pointed the way to reform. And doubtless 
extremely few of them questioned the wisdom of this, 
though they may have felt that a more radical change in 
leadership and policies was demanded than he would have 
been ready to admit. After Grady's death, the Constitution 

'See Harris, Grady, pp. 158-179. 



I07] "EMBATTLED FARMERS" 107 

continued the same general attitude toward these matters; 
for its editor-in-chief, Captain Even P. Howell, was in es- 
sential accord with his late friend and co-partner. Northen 
was accepted from the first as the gubernatorial candidate.* 
He was regarded as progressive but safe. His principles 
were believed to be those of the rank and file of the Alliance, 
and quite in keeping with the traditions of the Democratic 
party.^ It was not that Alliancemen would " capture " the 
sitate Democracy; it was already theirs.' "The Farmers' 
Alliance is the Democratic party." * A number of other 
papers came to adopt more or less similar positions." 

The Savannah Morning News and the Macon Telegraph, 
outstanding champions of corporate interests, led the group 
that opposed compromise. The Democratic party should 
not be yielded to a single class — a single organisation, in 
fact, and that a secret one. Alliance politicians were plot- 
ting a third party, and sowing the seeds of a bitter harvest. 
Warned by other papers that this sort of attitude would 
tend to force a third party, the News replied that compro- 
mise with an erratic group of leaders who were dallying 
with absurd programs and un-Democratic principles would 
pave the way for future trouble. The great majority of the 
farmers were still sound in their convictions and loyal to the 
party: no encouragement should be given those who would 
lead them astray. A number of the papers taking this 
position were incUned to support Thomas Hardeman, third 
candidate in the governor's race. He too was a farmer and 
had joined the Alliance, but was strongly opposed to any 

' Gippings and correspondence, Northen collection. 
'Ibid. 

'See Constitution, June 6, July 7, 1890 (edls.). 
*Ibid., July 4, 1890. 
Northen collection. 



Io8 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [io8 

participation in politics on the part of that order. His 
chances seem never to have been very bright. As the cam- 
paign advanced conservative organs came in increasing 
numbers to the support of Northen — despite, and not be- 
cause of, his AUliance connections. He was not the can- 
didate, they urged, of a single class ; he had said so himself.* 
There were many cross currents. The Atlanta Journal 
questioned Northen early in the race, not because it regarded 
him as too radical but because it feared he would be too 
conservative in dealing with the railroad problem in parti- 
cular.^ The long rivalry between this paper and the Con- 
stitution, between Hoke Smith (proprietor of the former) 
and Clark Howell (son, associate, and later successor of the 
editor-in-chief of the latter) was already on. Smith was an 
anti-corporation lawyer, and a leader in the movement for 
the regulation of railroads; while the Howells seem to have 

•See editorial debate between the Constitution and the News during 
the summer of 1890, especially during late June and July; also excerpts 
from the Telegraph, et ah, in Northen collection. The writer was 
unable to locate complete files of the Telegraph. Those preserved by 
the publishers were destroyed by fire several years ago. The Telegraph 
was owned by Major Hanson, one of the leading railway promoters 
and managers of the state. 

'The managing editor of the Journal wrote Northen under date of 
Oct. 9, 1889: "You ask me how the Journal feels toward you. This 
way: the Journal recognizes your clean record and your abilities. You 
are liked very much personally and admired. We have nothing against 
you that I know of except that you have not come out on the railroad 
question, and it is claimed that you are " bottled up." You see we are 
very much opposed to the existing combination [of competing lines] and 
it may be an issue next year. I know how you feel, but the people do 
not ... I believe you have not expressed yourself as to legislation — 
which is the practical aspect of the case. . . . The idea is being circu- 
lated that you cannot express yourself against the combination and in 
favor of legislation, and that you are with the railroads in the fight. 
... I think Brown likely to resign. That would put Gordon in the 
Senate . . . (Signed) Josiah Carter, Managing Editor." (Original in 
Northen collection.) 



1 09] " EMBA TTLED FARMERS " 1 09 

felt that regulation was rather bordering on persecution/ 
Smith, the leader of the Qeveland forces in Georgia, was 
inclined to be " sound " on the money question.^ The 
Howells advocated free silver, and even the sub-treasury 
(subject to some modification in detail).' But the railroad 
problem was more important in connection with the gov- 
ernorship. And the fact that the Constitution and other 
" corporation organs " were coming out for Northen was 
believed in some quarter^ to indicate a scheme to miscarry 
the movement.* 

'C/. Knight, vol. vi, pp. 3202-3205; vol. iv, pp. 1897-1899. Also clip- 
pings, Northen collection. 

'He seems to have found it difficult to maintain such a position in 
Georgia at that time; and, according to the editor of the Constitution 
(July 14, 189s), he weakened temporarily in 1890 under Alliance pressure. 

'Editorials in Constitution, June-Nov., 1890. The silver-Purchase 
Clause of the Sherman Act was denounced as an ineffectual compromise, 
"a. Wall St. Measure" (June 8, 1890). 

'Clippings, Northen colln., especially one signed "Pembroke" from 
the Atlanta Chronicle, Mar. S, 1890. In so far as Northen's candidacy 
may have been used to sidetrack, and possibly to wreck, the movement, 
the writer is not inclined to believe that Northen himself was con- 
sciously a party to any such scheme. He was essentially conservative 
in temperament and convictions, and honest (one feels) in purpose. 
He did not profess to be a radical. Many farmers doubtless inferred 
from his sympathetic discussions of their unfortunate plight and his 
condemnation of existing abuses that he was more radical than he really 
was. They might have noticed (as some of them evidently did) that 
in speaking of drastic measures of relief he was uniformly reserved — 
sometimes indeed quite indefinite, due largely no doubt to the fact 
he was still wrestling in his own mind (as many others were) with these 
questions. iHe felt himself the leader of the less radical element in the 
Alliance and at the same time the candidate of many in non'-agricultural 
pursuits. 

Nor does one wish to impugn the motives of others. Those whose 
political, economic, or social interests seemed jeopardized, who believed 
that the measures proposed by the radicals were more dangerous than 
the disease, may have felt justified in resorting to political tricks to save 
themselves and the public from such eventualities. If they succeeded, 
perhaps they would find other remedies that would prove both safe 
and effectual. 



no THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [no 

Through the fall and winter of 1889-90, the Southern 
Alliance Farmer, official spokesman for the state organiza- 
tion, carried on a heated campaign for Livingston, bitterly- 
attacking Northen.^ Its course was denounced from numer- 
ous sources as highly imfair, especially in view of the fact 
that the state Alliance had not committed itself and that the 
membership was divided into warring factions over the mat- 
ter. In this emergency an informal " caucus " was called 
to meet at the executive mansion on the evening of Feb- 
ruary 5 under the auspices of Governor Gordon.'' Prominent 
AUiancemen from various parts of the state were invited 
to attend with a view to arriving at some understanding 
whereby harmony might be restored. Nothing of impor- 
tance seems to have been decided that evening, but certain of 
the guests reassembled next morning and passed a resolu- 
tion condemning the use of the columns of the Alliance 
Farmer to further the cause of one member against another. 
This proved a bombshell rather than a palliative. Among 
the fiery comments, not a few denounced the governor for 
meddling in the affairs of an order of which he was not a 
member. Others urged that as a leader of his party 
Gordon had a right to interfere in a political quarrel. These 
felt that Livingston and his allies, the editors of the organ 
in question, deserved rebuke for what seemed an abuse of 
their positions. 

Perhaps one reason why Gordon was anxious to settle 
the Alliance quarrel was that Livingston, his paper, and his 
followers generally seemed likely to cause him considerable 
embarrassment, with their sUb-treasury-yard-stick furor, in 
his own campaign for the Senatorship.' It had been known 

•Northen collection. 

' Large number of clippings in Northen collection, representing country 
weeklies as well as dailies, and both sides of the controversy. 
*Ibid. 



Ill] " EMBA TTLED FARMERS " III 

for some time that Senator Brosrn, who had succeeded 
Gordon in 1880, would not stand for reelection in 1890, and 
that Gordon was a candidate for the place. At first it was 
thought there could be no opposition of any consequence. 
But as gubernatorial, Congressional, and county campaigns 
began to " warm up " it soon became evident that many of 
those who were bent on a party revolution were unwilling 
to except even " the hero of Appomattox." Could he pass 
the test ? Well, he was not quite sure about the sub-treasury 
— 'But that was essential! The Alliance Farmer said so. 
Likewise a good many others. Before long it was being 
said that candidates for the legislature would be asked to 
state whether they would support Gordon. Radicalism 
was evidently growing. There was sure to be an Alliance 
legislature as well as an Alliance governor. Which faction 
would predominate? 

On March 12, the Constitution announced that there was 
a probability of an adjustment of differences between 
Northen and Livingston, and a general binding-up of wounds 
in the Alliance and the Democratic party. If this announce- 
ment was premature it was not, apparently, without founda- 
tion. A week earlier, Livingston, as president of the 
Alliance, had published a statement that the farmers would 
demand of candidates that they favor the sUb-treasury, "or 
some better plan." ^ The day following the Constitution's 
announcement, however, Northen wrote the managing editor, 
saying that the trouble in the Alliance was much graver 
than a mere political quarrel between him and Livingston; 
there was already a move on foot to prefer charges against 
certain officials of the order, in which " public morals " 
were at stake; he had no authority to adjust matters, even 
if he wished to do so; he had no overtures to make, and no 

'Atl. Consin., Mar. 6, 1890 (italics mine). Comments from other 
sources, Northen collection. 



112 THE POPULIST MO VEMENT IN GEORGIA [112 

conditions to accept.^ Whether Northen had not been con- 
sulted, whether he merely objected to the Constitution's; 
manner of presenting the matter, or whatever else may 
have inspired his communication, there was a hitch. The 
controversy continued for three months longer. On June 
2, Northen received a letter from M. L. Peek, a prominent 
Allianceman of radical leanings, requesting him to meet 
with Livingston and others in Atlanta on the ninth.^ 

Let me assure you [read the letter] that this conference means 
no ill to your race for governor. Please stop anything that 
tends to divide or distract our people till after the conference. 
This consultation may end, as I think it will, in entire harmony 
in our ranks. 

A plan was submitted at this meeting, said Northen, which 
demanded no compromise on his part. A few days later 
Livingston retired from the gubernatorial race and became 
a candidate for Congress in his district (the fifth, which in- 
cluded Atlanta).^ Hardeman soon withdrew from the con- 
test also, leaving Northen a clear field. 

But the storm was not over. There were races for Con- 
gress, races for the legislature, races for various local 
offices. In most cases, the real elections were the Demo- 
cratic primaries, held in the various counties at dififerent 
times. These were not entirely new: they had been held 
occasionally in some localities for a decade. It was claimed, 
however, that they had rarely amounted to much ; had been 
called, if at all, at times when the farmers were busiest; had 
been given little publicity; and had nearly always resulted 
in " rubber-stamping " the slate.* It was different now that 

'Carbon copy in Northen collection. 
'Original in Northen collection. 

'Knight seems to think that iLivingston would have won the race 
for governor (vol. ii, p. 967). 
'Watson collection. 



1 1 3 J " EMBA TTLED FARMERS " 113 

" the people " were awake. Primaries were insistently de- 
manded on all hands, excepting some cases in which the in- 
cumbents were rather generally acceptable. Almost every 
issue of the dailies and of the country weeklies carried lists 
of speaking engagements; often of joint debates between 
rival candidates. There were glowing accounts of such 
gatherings — " the largest ever known in the town," " the 
most enthusiastic audience in years." Farmers drove five, 
ten, twenty miles over almost impassable roads to hear 
" lively Lon Livingston " or " the eloquent Tom Watson." 

When the decree went forth from the seats of the mighty 
that Livingston might run for Congress — and expect favor 
in " the gate city," — J. D. Stewart, the incumbent, who had 
scarcely expected opposition, soon found himself strangely 
deserted by former adherents.^ He appealed to the people 
in a series of stump debates with his antagonist ; but, under 
existing conditions at least, he was far from a match for the 
fiery Allianceman.^ He finally withdrew from the struggle 
in advance of the nomination. Livingston easily over- 
whelmed his Republican opponent in the election. 

The most exciting Congressional race was in the tenth 
district, embracing Richmond county with the city of 
Augusta and ten country counties. Here Thomas E Wat- 
son, the youthful delegate who had sounded the most vig- 
orous note of revolt in the deadlocked gubernatorial conven- 
tion of 1880, was now the impassioned advocate of the 
farmers' cause. Reared on a farm near Thomson, not far 
from the homes of Stephen and Toombs, he had experienced 
as a child the privations of war, as a youth the pinch of its 
aftermath.' He had imbibed the wisdom of rustic pedago- 

'Northen and Watson collections. 

'Ibid., also Atlanta Journal and Constitution, June 28-Jul. 2, 1890. 

'See biographical sketch in Thos. E. Watson, Life and Speeches of 
Thos. E. Watson ; also L. L. Knight, in Library of Southern Literature, 
vol. xiii, pp. 5681 et seq. ; also Watson colln. 



1 14 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [ 1 14 

gues, declaimed from the Boy Speaker or Friday afternoons, 
and fought the town boys who ridiculed his prominent 
freckles. He had made his way through sophomore class 
at Mercer University by teaching summer schools in the 
country. Then for two years he had " read law by the light 
of pine-knot fires " in the rustic homes where he boarded 
while teaching in " old-field schools " in Screven county. 
Admitted to the bar, he had settled at Thomson, bought a 
part of the old home place on credit, and for years had run 
the farm and practiced law at the same time, walking three 
miles to his office each morning and carrying his dinner in 
a tin bucket. He had served one term in the legislature 
(188^-84), but had refused reelection. An ardent free 
trader, he had campaigned for Cleveland in 1888. While 
his position on the tariff had remained the same, he had 
come to regard the money question as more important. In 
state as well as national politics he had long advocated im- 
portant measures that AUiancemen were now urging. When 
the movement was still essentially concerned with economic 
activities, he was said to have been among the first to 
preach war on the jute trust.^ Thus when the farmers came 
to seek a candidate for Congress " in keeping with the spirit 
of the hour prevailing in the Democratic party in this dis- 
trict," they turned toward Waston.^ The campaign that 
followed was " hot as Nebuchadnezzar"s furnace." In the 
primary, the city of Augusta was strong for Barnes, the in- 
cumbent, though Watson received considerable support in 
the working-class wards. W'hile some of the planters were 
for Barnes, all the country counties gave more or less hand- 

'See, especially report of speech by Watson in McDuffie (County) 
Journal, Sep. 8, 1888 (in Watson colln.). 

'Watson colln. The quotation is from a resolution passed by the 
Democratic convention of the tenth district (press reports, Aug. 28, 
1890). 



115] " ^^^^ TTLED FARMERS " 115 

some majorities to Watson. He thus became the nominee 
of the regular Democracy on a straight Alliance platform. 
In the election he defeated his Republican opponent nearly 
ten to one.^ I 

A queer situation arose in the seventh district. The 
Alliance in seeking a candidate for Congress passed over 
Felton. He seems to have been suspicious' of this oath- 
bound order, controlled by men who wished to proscribe all 
candidates refusing to indorse their sub-treasury scheme, 
which to his mind was thoroughly impracticable. He was 
just as much a friend of the farmers as he ever was, but he 
believed they were being misled by unscrupulous politicians. 
It was strange to him that with all their radicalism they 
had hit upon a candidate in the seventh who was a Gordon 
man. When first besought to announce as an independent, 
Felton refused. But he was importuned without rest, it 
seems, by personal calls and petitions from all over the dis- 
trict. He — or at least Mrs. Felton, who would still be his 
campaign manager, — apparently felt muchflattered that many 
of his bitterest opponents in former years (among the towns- 
people especially) were now the most insistent that he enter 
the race. At last he yielded, accepting the nomination of 
the Independents, or " Jeffersonian Democrats." Former 
alignments, while greatly jarred,, were not completely re- 
versed. On the whole, the " court-house rings " stood by 
the regular nominee, it seems, despite the Alliance; and 
Felton retained a number of his old followers, who, like 
himself, apparently had a natural proclivity for independ- 
ence in politics. He was defeated by a large majority.^ 

It seemed for a time that the " Jeffersonian Democrats " 
might become a state-wide party. As the organized De- 

' Watson colln. ; Tribune Almanac, 1891, p. 278. 
'Felton, pp. 641-651. 



116 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [ii6 

mocracy passed, county by county, into the hands of the 
militant agrarians, candidates for various offices came out 
under that name. But with " the spirit of the hour " plus 
the tradition of party regularity against them, they were 
fatally handicapped in most cases. 

In six out of ten Congressional districts, the " Bourbons " 
lost their seats; in the other four, they made their peace 
with the " embattled farmers," via the less radical element. 
The Alliance controlled the state convention, chose the gov- 
ernor, wrote the platform, named three-fourths of the 
senators and four-fifths of the representatives. The as- 
sembly which convened in November was greeted by 
the press — ^with mingled emotions no doubt — as THE 
FARMERS' LEGISLATURE. " As in the days of Jack- 
son," said an ardent Ailianceman, " the people have come 
to power." 



CHAPTER IV 

Blasting at the Solid South 

But " the people " who had come to power were not of 
one mind. While the Constitution and the Alliance Farmer 
had come to speak prety much the same language, they spoke 
for constituencies far from identical in purpose. The work 
of the Farmers' Legislature soon to convene and the rec- 
ords of the Alliance Congressmen-elect would go far to- 
ward determining whether the predictions of the Morning 
News that a split in the Democratic party was in prospect 
would prove true. Already the radicals in several of the 
Western states had abandoned their traditional Republican- 
ism, and were beginning to urge the Southern dissenters to 
renounce the name Democracy, abjure the sectional ran- 
cor which had so long enabled their common " oppressors " 
to divide and rule them, and join hands in the new-born 
" People's party." The great majority in Georgia at thi^ 
time said no; and their brethren in other states of the South 
who had accomplished similar feats within the party were 
inclined to agree with them. Flushed with victory, they 
would test its fruits. However, they were not in accord 
as to the standards whereby they would judge these fruits. 
They differed in their opinions of particular measures and 
men. Some were willing to continue the policy of com- 
promise when necessary for party harmony ; others felt that 
too much compromising had been done already, that the 
movement was being betrayed and must be saved from its 
" friends." ^ 

'Clippings, Northen and Watson collections. 
117] "7 



1 1 8 THE POPULIST MO VEMENT IN GEORGIA [ 1 1 8 

One month after the state election, the new legislature 
convened. Alliance representatives went into caucus an the 
question of the speakership. The majority favored Qark 
Howell.^ He was elected.^ 

The first important business was the election of a United 
State Senator. On this matter there was the widest va- 
riance. There was strong opposition to Gordon among 
AUiancemen, but it was neither unanimous nor coherent. 
In the midst of the summer campaign, the radicals had 
besieged the general for a definite statement of his stand on 
the Alliance program. He had confessed his disbelief in the 
sub-treasury scheme. This had been siezed upon by the 
extreme elements and made the chief ground of their op- 
position to him. As a matter of tactics, this was probably 
a blunder. Too many AUiancemen shared Gordon's doubts 
on that point. Northen had said already that the sub- 
treasury should not be made the test of a candidate's faith. 
Even Livingston had come, at least for a while, to employ 
the qualifying phrase, " or some 'better plan." Gordon urged 
that free silver and tariff reduction constituted a " better 
plan." It seemed for a time in the early fall, however, that 
the sub-treasury was the winning card.' 

At this point a series of articles appeared in the Constitu- 
tion ably defending the scheme. They were signed, " A 
Georgian," and were introduced by the editor as coming 
from the pen of a prominent business man with agrarian 
sympathies who preferred for the time to remain anony- 
mous.* Much interest was aroused, and at the psychological 
moment it was made known that the author was Patrick 

'Atlanta Constitution, Nov. 5, 1890. 
^ House Journal, 1890, p. 3. 

^Constitution, Mar. 28, Aug. 20, Oct. 3, 1890. Clippings, Northea 
collection. 
^Constitution, Oct. 17, 1890, et seq. 



Iig] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 119 

Calhoun, who would be a candidate for the Senatorship and 
would have the support of the Constitution} He also found 
favor with Livingston, and induced Macune to leave his 
post as eidtor of the National Economist and lobbyist for 
the Alliance in Washington and come down to Georgia to 
electioneer in his behalf. Calhoun was a railroad lawyer, 
connected, it seems, with the Gould system, which was at 
that time extending its influence into the Southeast. His 
sincerity was questioned. It was charged that he had used 
improper influences in obtaining the support of Livingston 
and Macune. Some evidence to this effect was later pro- 
duced.^ The great majority of the opposition refused to 
support Calhoun. 

Thomas M. Norwood, Colquitt's opponent in the famous 
gubernatorial race of 1880, also had come out as a candidate 
favoring the sub-treasury. James K. Hines, a liberal young 
judge of a rural circuit, later Populist candidate for gov- 
ernor, was also in the race; but he was not well known at 
this time. Several others were considered.' 

Gordon had the support of Northen and a number of 
others prominent in the Alliance.* In his message to the 

'The Constitution explained editorially (iNov. 16) that one reason 
■why it opposed Gordon was that he had thrown his influence against 
Grady, and deprived him of the Senatorship when it was virtually 
within his grasp in 1886. It was claimed that Gordon was scheming 
at that time to hold one toga in reserve for himself. A year or two 
after the Grady affair, it was reported that Senator Brown was dying, 
and along with this depressing news, which proved to be false, went a 
" boom " for Gordon to take his place. 

'See Reports (majority and minority) of committee appointed by the 
convention of the Southern Alliance at Ocala, Dec, 1890 to investigate 
the conduct of Macune and Livingston in connection with the Sena- 
torial contest in Georgia, in Northen colln. The Georgia legislature also 
investigated the matter, but exonerated all persons concerned (^Report 
in Northen colln.). 

'See, especially, Constitution, Aug. 30, 1890. 

* Correspondence between Gordon and Northen, and campaign liter- 
ature, Northen colln. 



I20 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [120 

legislature as retiring governor he spoke of national as well 
as state affairs. Referring to the " Force Bill," a measure 
then being urged by Republicans for extending federal con- 
trol over elections, he said, " The present Congress has ex- 
hibited greater bitterness toward the South than any other 
federal legislature since the period of reconstruction." But 
an influence even more to be dreaded was that of " the great, 
growing, grasping Money Power." It maintained shrewd 
lobbyists in Washington as well as in the state capitals, 
and placed its puppets in both houses of Congress ^. . . . Ai 
few days before the vote for Senator was taken. General 
Gordon addressed the legislature in person, ably defendingi 
his record and his stand on the issues of the hour.^ He had 
been advocating Alliance principles, he said, for twenty 
years. His courtly bearing, his persuasive manner of 
speech, added to the sacred traditions which he represented, 
clothed him in a shining armor which the clumsy weapons 
of the opposition found extremely difficult to pierce. The 
consolidated vote stood: Gordon, 122; Norwood, 43; Cal- 
houn, 25; Hines, 10; Hammond, 9; Hawkins, i.** 

Meanwhile the cahiers were pouring in upon " the 
people's " representatives, and bills of all kinds were being* 
discussed or despatched to committee rooms.* There were 
bills to extend the powers of the railway commission, to pro- 
hibit combinations or agreements tending to defeat or lessen 
competition, to regulate the banking business, to reform the 
lien laws, to prohibit speculation in farm products, to ex- 
tend the system of state inspection of fertilizers, to define 
the liability of farm " hands " and tenants, to regulate the 
hours and conditions of employment of trainmen, to protect 

^ House Journal, 1890, pp. 36 et seq. 
'Constitution, Nov. 11, 1890. 
'House Journal, 1890. 
*Ibid., passim. 



I2i] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 121 

the purity of the ballot box, to amend the registration laws, 
to increase the school fund and the length of the term, to 
establish a college for colored youth, to regulate the sale of 
intoxicating liquors, etc., etc. 

Some rather important laws were enacted. The power 
of the railway commission to fix rates which had been called 
into question, was confirmed, and its jurisdiction was ex- 
tended to cover express and telegraph companies. Corpora- 
tions doing a banking business, authorized under the laws of 
Georgia, were required to publish quarterly statements, made 
under oath; to maintain reserves of not less than 25 per 
cent of their call deposits; and were forbidden to make 
loans to their officers without good collateral, or, likewise, 
to any one person to an amount exceeding 10 per cent of 
their capital and surplus. The system of state inspection 
of fertilizers, which seems to have been quite inadequate, 
was somewhat extended. Railroads were forbidden to work 
their employees more than twelve hours in twenty-four ex- 
cept in cases of unavoidable delays. Corporations were pro- 
hibited from maintaining a blacklist. With the aid of the 
federal government, an agricultural and mechanical college 
for colored youth was established at Savannah.^ 

To some, this record appeared most gratifying; to others, 
it was disappointing. To the latter, it seemed merely a 
weak compromise on the major issues.' The insistent de- 
mand for effective laws to prevent such things as combina- 
tions in restraint of competition, robbery of stockholders 
by reorganization schemes, overcapitalization, and discrimi- 
nations against the patrons of way stations had not been 

^Georgia Laws, 1890-91, pp. 153, 165, 171, 183, 185, 222. 

'Copies of Alliance Farmer, 1891 (incomplete file in Northen collec- 
tion). Also clippings in Watson collection; especially reports of his 
speeches, in the McDuffie lournal, Aug. 28, i8gi, and the (Atlanta) 
People's Party Paper, Oct. 22, 1891. 



122 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [122 

met. The anaconda mortgage system remained unscathed. 
Tax burdens were to be no more equitably apportioned than 
before. Some of these problems the state government alone 
could not wholly solve. Had it done what it could? 
Those who thought not were beginning to urge that " the 
wool-hat boys " must now part company with the " silk- 
hat crowd." The Alliance Farmer became so outspoken 
in condemning the latter that another " mansion caucus " 
was called, to meet in February, 1891, with a view to dis- 
ciplining the recalcitrant organ and bringing charges before 
the state organization against certain of its officials. The 
offending sheet only fired the more heavily upon the 
" traitors." Its cartoon of " the Alliance Tree," with one 
of its limbs occupied by " the silk-hat bosses " who were 
stupidly sawing off their own support, attracted wide atten- 
tion.^ 

In the meantime the question as to whether the Southern 
AlUance should join with kindred bodies in support of a 
national third party was being discussed. In this connec- 
tion it is necessary to trace the lines of development in other 
parts of the country. 

Elsewhere in the South the campaign of 1890 had brought 
results more or less similar to those in Georgia.'' The 
cleanest sweep was in South Carolina, where the radicals 
gained complete control of the Democratic organization, 
elected Benjamin R. Tillman governor, gained an over- 
whelming majority in both houses of the legislature, elected 
a Senator and a majority of the Congressmen. In Ten- 
nessee, the president of the state Alliance was elected gover- 

^Alliance Farmer, Dec, 1890-Apr., 1891, especially Feb. 24, Mar. 3 
(Northen colln.) ; Atlanta Constitution, Feb. 24, 1891. 

* National Economist, Dec. 6, 1890 ; F. M. Drew, "The Present 
Farmers' Movement," in Pol. Sc. Qty., vol. vi, pp. 282-310; Appleton's 
Annual Cyc, 1890 (see under various states and imder "Farmers' 
Alliance") ; Haynes, Third Party Movements, pp. 236-252. 



123] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 123 

nor. It was an off-year for state elections in Virginia, 
North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky; but 
five out of ten Congressmen elected in Virginia were pledged 
to the Alliance demands; likewise, eight out of nine in 
North Carolina, two out of seven in Mississippi, and four 
out of eleven in Kentucky. The farmers seem to have dic- 
tated the platforms, at least, in Florida and Texas. In 
Alabama, the Alliance candidate for governor, Reuben F. 
Cobb, had a plurality of the delegates in the state convention, 
but not quite a majority. Failing to receive the nomina- 
tion, he ran as an independent, and was defeated. His 
faction, however, elected about half the legislators. Inl 
Arkansas the farmers divided their vote between the Union 
Labor Party and the regular Democracy. In Missouri, a 
majority of the assemblymen and all the Congressmen were 
Democrats pledged to Alliance principles. In the South as 
a whole, some forty-odd Congressmen and several Senators 
were thus committed. Divisions among Alliancemen them- 
selves had brought, not only defeat in some localities, but 
varying shades of compromise in others. It is therefore 
difficult to estimate the extent to which radicalism prevailed. 
But whatever had been gained, it was in nearly all cases 
through the Democratic party. 

In the West, the situation was more complex.'- In 
Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Indiana, 
the Alliance put out a third-party ticket, cooperating in some 
cases with other agrarian bodies and with the Knights of 
Labor. The People's Party of Kansts, fusing in some 
localities with the Democrats, elected a majority of the 
legislature, five out of seven Congressmen, and a United 
States Senator, but lost the gubernatorial race. The 
People's Independent Party of Nebraska ran far ahead of 

Ubid. 



124 '^^^ POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [124 

the Republicans, and was narrowly defeated by the Demo- 
crats; it obtained platform pledges from two of the Con- 
gressmen elected; The Independents in South Dakota out- 
stripped the Democrats, but were defeated by the Repub- 
licans. The Alliance came out third in a close triangular 
race in Minnesota, in which the usual Republican majority 
was greatly narrowed. The People's Party of Indiana drew 
heavily upon the normally Republican vote, and the De- 
mocrats swept the state. In Colorado and Iowa, the dis- 
senters functioned through the Union Labor party; in 
North Dakota, through the Prohibitionist. 

The net result of the Alliance movement was decidedly 
in favor of the Democrats. No doubt the general unrest, 
and the reaction against the McKinley tariff, had much to do 
with the Democratic landslide of 1890. But the Alliance 
was clearly an important factor. 

In the South, Democrats generally were encouraged. 
Most of the Alliancemen — even many of those who, like 
Livingston, were most radical in their demands — seem to 
have believed, at least for a time, that the party of Jefferson, 
purged by the popular uprising, offered the surest and sanest 
means for reform. A growing number, however, disap^ 
pointed with the record of the first Cleveland administration, 
and now becoming dissatisfied with the " regenerated " De- 
mocracy in their own states, were coming to advocate a com- 
plete severance of old ties. 

The issue was hotly contested in a series of meetings of 
the Southern Alliance. The first of these was held at 
Ocala, Fla., in December, 1890.'^ In addition to the dele- 
gates of that order, representatives were present from the 

^National Economist, Dec. 12, ig, 1890; Constitution and Morning 
News, Dec. 3-7, 1890; Independent, Dec. 11, 1890; People's Party Paper, 
Oct. 16, 1891. McVey (" Populist Movt.,'' in Economic Studies, vol. i, 
pp. 138, 142) seems to have been ini error in stating that the sub-treasury 
plank was dropped at this meeting. 



125] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 125 

Colored Alliance, the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association, 
the Citizens' Alliance, and the Knights of Labor. Ralph 
Beaumont, spokesman for the Knights, was one of the 
most active in preaching independent action. In one of his 
fervent outbursts, he shouted, " When I went out to 
Kansas and found the farmers raising corn and selling it 
at fifteen cents a bushel, I told them they'd better raise 
hell! " He agreed with the New York Evening Post 
thajt they were taking his advice. Some of them were pre- 
sent at this meeting, and they were accompanied by other 
Populists (as the members of the People's Party soon 
came to be called). The old parties were hopelessly con- 
trolled, they said, by the Money Power, the trusts, the rail- 
roads, and other great capitalistic interests. Dally with 
them, and your cause is lost. Their leaders will flatter you 
and make fair promises, perhaps with a certain sincerity; 
but they will go up to Washington, enter the caucus, and 
leave all hopes behind. Besides, experience has shown that 
the Western farmer will join a third party more readily 
than he will the Democratic. The Southerner will not be- 
come a Republican. Hence let the farmers of all sections 
join hands with each other, and with their brethren the 
urban workers, in a party of the people^. 

Most of the Southerners, on the other hand, were not 
only hopeful of success through the Democratic party, but 
also quite fearful of the race complications in case the white 

'There was little likelihood that any very large percentage of the 
industrial laborers would join such a party. The officials of the 
Knights of Labor pledged the support of that body, but it was easier 
to make such a pledge than to deliver the vote. Besides, the order was 
on the decline, its membership at that time being scarcely more than 
100,000 (Commons says, 7S,ooo in 1893 — vol. ii, p. 494) ; and a consider- 
able number of these were farmers, small shop keepers, etc. The rising 
A. F. of L. was warned against the new party by its leader, Samuel 
Gompers, who could see little in common between " the employing 
farmer" and the workingman. 



126 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [126 

South should divide. Then too, it was urged that the 
Alliance was forbidden by its constitution from becoming 
directly partisan : it was permissible to use the influence of 
the order to bring the old parties to their senses, but not 
to proselyte members into a strange fold. If it should 
seek to do this, it would seal its own death warrant. 

Between these two groups was a considerable element 
which counselled delay, biding further results of the recent 
upheaval and the development of popular sentiment. This 
advice prevailed. It was agreed to have another meeting 
on February 22, 18911 ; but the supreme council refused to 
make the call for this time, regarding it as too early, hence 
it was delayed until May.^ 

The Ocala convention made some changes in the St. Louis 
platform. The sub-treasury plan, extended to cover loans 
upon real estate, was embodied in the main platform. Al 
number of the delegates, especially from the West, wished 
to substitute land for products as a basis of credit. It is 
interesting to note how the experiences of the farmers in 
various regions with crop liens and land mortgages were 
translated into their respective plans for government aid. 
The compromise made at this meeting was the beginning of 
the end of the product-security scheme. The tariff, this 
time, was called by name, and the removal of the existing! 
high duties on the necessities of life was demanded. In- 
stead of immediate government ownership of railroads, " the 
most rigid, honest, and just state and national governmental 
control " was called for, with the proviso that if such con- 
trol failed to remove the abuses, then government ownership 
must follow. The southeast was particularly strong for 
this compromise : Livingston seems to have been its father. 
It was doubtless a good political move; for, as the sub- 

1 See reference i, p. 124. Cf. Commons, vol. ii, pp. 493-494. 



127] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 127 

treasury issue grew stale, the anti-Alliance press was turn- 
ing its fire upon government ownership, denouncing it as 
socialistic, and the farmers were generally sensitive to this 
word. One might now hold it up as a last resort only; or 
the more daring ones, like Watson, might declare that gov- 
ernment control was fast proving its ineffectiveness, and 
hence champion the more radical scheme. On the whole 
the Ocala platform was much better suited to the situation 
in the South than was that of St. Louis.^ 

The attitude of the Southern farmers toward the third- 
party idea was still problematic when the meeting to con- 
sider the matter further was held at Cincinnati the following 
May. Leaders were undecided which way to turn; many 
remained at home, so that the representation from that sec- 
tion was relatively small. Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana, 
and Missouri furnished 1049 out of 1417 delegates. Liv- 
ingston — concerning whose future course there had been 
much guessing — was there, but " only as a spectator." The 
majority of the delegates were Populistic, though many of 
these were in doubt as to whether they should seek at this 
time to commit their respective organizations to the new 
party. After much heated discussion, punctuated with 
songs of " Goodbye, Old Parties, Goodbye," and the like, 
a resolution was passed stating that "the time has come for 
the crystalization of the political reform forces of our 
country, and the foundation of what should be known as 
the People's Party of the United States of America." This 
was said to be only a preliminary step. The actual launch- 
ing would occur at St. Louis on Washington's birthday fol- 
lowing. All organizations of rural and urban organized 
labor were invited to participate. The Ocala platform was 
endorsed; also that of a labor conference held at Omaha 

^Ibid. 



128 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [128 

shortly before. Planks were included calling for a gradu- 
ated income tax ; direct election of President, Vice-president, 
and Senators; and expressing sympathy with the move- 
ment for an eight-hour day.'- 

The press did not have a very high regard for the apostles 
of Populism. The National Economist, still an organ of 
the Southern Alliance, and still opposed to independent 
action, declared that the meeting was inspired by a few men 
" whose zeal exceeds their wisdom." The Constitution said 
it was the work of " political adventurers " who had sprung 
from " the ranks of the disgruntled." The Morning News 
capped the climax, as usual, — <" Such a lot of cranks, dema- 
gogues, small politicians, dangerous theorists, and agita- 
tors never before collected anywhere." ^ 
y^ Up to this time few of the leaders in Georgia had come 
out definitely for independent action. Among those who 
were thought to be leaning in that direction, Watson was 
most prominent. He seems to have been greatly concerned 
lest those Democrats who had been elected as Congressmen 
on the Alliance platform should accept the dictation of the 
Democratic caucus in violation of their pledges. Questioned 
in reference to his alleged third-party leanings, he made 
several statements during the spring and summer of 1891 
to the effect that principles meant more to him than party 
names; he had been chosen as a Democrat, but chosen be- 
cause he stood for certain principles; he was still a Demo- 
crat, and expected to remain one as long as he could do so 
consistently. He did not agree that one who had been 
elected to champion particular measures should merely use 
his influence to have the party accept those measures, and 
failing this, should fall in line with the majority of the 

^Natl. Econ., Mar. s, May 21, 28, 1891 ; Constitution, Mar. S, May 
19-22, 1891; Morning News, May 19-22, 1891. Cf. Hayines, Third 
Party Movts., pp. 247-248. 

'Ibid. 



129] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 129 

caucus. His duty was to his own constituency, not to the 
representatives of other constituencies.^ The conservative 
press did not accept this view. Party government demanded 
party loyahy. When one finds that he can not conscien- 
tiously act in harmony with the party under the standard of 
which he has been elected, he should resign.^ Watson de^ 
termined to seek a definite statement from the Alliance on 
this point ; and to this end he, along with others of his per- 
suasion, appealed to the supreme council of that order, which 
convened at Indianapolis, November 16, 1891. The council 
accepted Watson's view.* 

The opposing groups were especially concerned about the 
election of a speaker in the Congress to meet in December. 
The Democrats would have an overwhelming majority, but 
would be more or less embarrassed by factions. Charles 
F. Crisp was widely regarded as the most available man 
for the speakership. He was one of the four Georgia Con- 
gressmen whom the Alliance had not dislodged. Represent- 
ing a district in the black belt in which the large planters 
predominated, he was relatively conservative. A man of 
pleasing address, excellent poise, and great popularity, he 
was well suited to the task of binding up wounds. But 
this was the very sort of thing that the Watson element 
most feared. It would probably result, they said, as it had 
so often resulted before, in saving the party at the expense 
of principles and programs. Hence the supreme council 
especially urged that no Congressman, elected by the Alliance 
faction, should bind himself to the caucus on the speakership 
question.* 

^People's Party Paper, Nov. 19, 26, Dec. 3, 17, 1891; Constitution, 
Nov. 26, 1891. 

2 Constitution and Morning News, Nov.-Dec, iSgii. 

^People's Party Paper, op. cit.; Haynes, Third Party Movts., pp. 
254-255; Watson, Handbook, pp. 4S4, 455- 

*Ibid. 



130 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [130 

When the Solons appeared in Washington a few weeks 
later, an effort was made to assemble those Democrats who 
had been elected on the Alliance platform in advance of the 
regular caucus. Twenty-five members appeared. Eighteen 
of these, under the leadership of Livingston, favored act- 
ing with the party. The other seven, led by Watson, of 
Georgia, and Simpson, of Kansas, urged that by maintain- 
ing a certain solidarity, they would be able to offset the 
conservative wing, especially from the East, which had con- 
trolled the party in former years. In the course of the dis- 
cussion, Watson declared with some feeling that the old- 
line Democracy was corrupt, was controlled by the moneyed 
interests, and would yield nothing to the people's cause un- 
less driven to it. Crisp, he said, was " supported by the 
machine politicians, the boodlers, and the subsidy hunters." 
Livingston sprang to his feet, and indignantly denied the 
statement. Both Crisp and his followers were essentially) 
in harmony with the popular cause, he maintained. Be- 
sides, for Alliancemen to hold aloof from the councils of 
their party would be disloyal as well as futile. " You 
know," shouted Watson, " that neither you nor I would be 
in Congress were it not for the farmers. They sent us here 
to stand for certain principles : if we fail to do so, we be- 
tray our trust." Retorts became more heated, and a per- 
sonal encounter was averted only by the intervention of 
friends.^ 

This was the culmination of a controversy between the 
two which had been in progress for several months. Their 
paths were diverging. Watson, deciding that " the new 
wine of reform fared badly in old bottles," was soon con- 
tributing weekly letters to the People's Party Paper (es- 
tablished in Atlanta in October, 1891), and ere long was 

"Clippings from Washington Post, et. el., Northen coUn. ; People's 
Party Paper, Dec. 3, 10, 17, 1891. Clippings, Watsoo colln. 



13 1 j BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 13 1, 

advising " the people " to join the new party. He and a 
few other anti-caucus Democrats met with the PopuHsts 
and several Alliance Republicans at Senator Peffer's apart- 
ment, and Watson was chosen as their candidate for speaker. 
Livingston and the rest of the Alliance Democrats, includ- 
ing the remaining four from Georgia, went into the regular 
caucus and helped elect Crisp. They were convinced, at 
least at this time, that a third party was unnecessary as well 
as unwise.^ 

These were enthusiastically commended by the dailies of 
the state and by the great majority of the small-town week- 
lies. Watson was denounced as a traitor, and was burned in 
effigy in Augusta. But to thousands of people, especially in 
the country, he was becoming a veritable god. In almost 
every community, children were named in his honor. By the 
irony of fate it sometimes happened that a young " Grover 
Cleveland " became blood brother to a younger " Tom Wat- 
son." Sub-Alliances and mass meetings resolved him the 
greatest leader of his generation. But not all, even of the 
farmers, commended him. To those who did not, he was 
the embodiment of all that was wicked.^ 

Livingston was still president of the state Alliance, and 
hence appointed the executive committee, which in turn ap- 
pointed the delegates to the Washington's birthday gather- 
ing at St. Louis. The five thus appointed were all opposed 
to a third party, and were joined by their president as a 
member ex officio. But the Populistic element was not inac- 
tive. Three of their mmiber went as representatives o£ 
the newly formed Citizens' Alliance, and two others were 

^Ibid.; also Constitution, Dec. 9, 1891 ; Morning News, Feb. 26, 1892. 

'In the interim between the Indianapolis conference and the opening 
of Congress, Watson had returned to Georgia and canvassed his district 
on the caucus questions. His supporters were a unit, he says, in com- 
mending his stand, and urging him to maintain it at all hazards. 
Clippings, Watson colln. ; also Handbook, p. 454. 



132 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [132 

conveniently on hand to take the places of two of Living- 
ston's men who were unable to attend. This substitution 
gave rise to a contest which threw the convention into an 
uproar, and threatened a split at the outset. After a time 
the Livingston group agreed to accept the Populist pair, pro- 
vided they would follow the unit rule. The chair overruled 
the proviso and put the question of seating them to a vote. 
This was generally seen to be a straw on the major question 
of the hour. It was also important in view of Georgia's 
strategic position. The success of the Populist movement 
depended largely upon its ability to shatter the Solid South, 
and an effectual blast in Georgia would be a coup de 
maitre indeed. Thus it was important for the psychic effect 
to have the state delegation predominantly Populist. And 
so it was : the contested delegates were seated.^ 

It was a motley gathering. Some twenty-one organiza- 
tions were represented, including well nigh every agricultural 
order in the country, several labor and trade-union groups 
(all local except the K. of L.), and one or two reform clubs. 
The radicals predominated, both in numbers and in noise. 
The press made much of the " wild " and " riotous " scenes 
— '" a comedy of errors," enacted by " cranks and sore- 
heads." ^ It may well be doubted, however, whether the 
meeting was any more boisterous than " gatherings of the 
faithful " have often been — " Atmageddon," for example. 
Wrought to a frenzy by grievances that were real, they were 
met with abuse and ridicule, which neither lightened their 
burdens nor softened their spirits. President Polk, of the 
Southern Alliance, who had formerly opposed a separate 

•Official 'Minutes in Natl. Econ., Mar. s, 1892. See also People's 
Party Paper, Feb. 25, Mar. 3, 1892; Constitution, Feb. 24, 26, 1892; 
Morning News, Feb. 24, Mar. 4, 1892. The delegation from the colored 
Alliance of Georgia was also divided, the majority favoring a third party. 

* Constitution, Feb. 23, 24, 26, 1892; Morning News, Feb. 24, 1892. 



133] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 133 

party, now confessed a change of heart.'^ " We have pre- 
sented these complaints faithfully and persistently to the 
two great political parties of the country," he said, .... 
" And what has been their answer ? ' You don't know what 
you need. Go home, work harder, live closer, and keep out 
of politics, and you'll be all right.' ". Ignatius Donnelly 
predicted a political wedding between the old parties. " The 
ceremony will be performed at the altar of plutocracy. 
Grover Cleveland and Ben Harrison will act as brides-maids, 
the devil will give away the bride, and Jay Gould will pro- 
nounce the benediction.". . . . Their sham combats can no 
longer deceive us. " We propose to wipe the Mason and 
Dixon line out of our geography ; to wipe the color line out 
of politics ; to give Americans prosperity, that the man whO' 
creates shall own what he creates; to take the robber class 
from the throat of industry; to take possession of the gov- 
ernment of the United States, and put our nominee in the 
White House." ' 

An effusive arraignment of existing economic and political 
conditions, similar to the one later adopted at Omaha, pre- 
faced their platform. The only important changes made 
in their demands were that government ownership of the 
means of transportation and communication was urged with- 
out further trial of government control, and postal savings 
banks were called for. An appeal was made to the workers 
of all sections and all occupations to join in the movement 
" to restore the government of the Republic to the hands of 
the plain people with whom it originated." ^ 

^People's Party Paper, Feb. 25, 1892. Polk made a spirited attack 
upon Livingston and other Alliance Congressmen who had " deserted " 
their principles. " I am not so much afraid of the enemies without," he 
said, " as of the traitors within." 

'Morning News, Feb. 23, 1892. 

'Natl. Econ., Mar. 12, 1892; People's Party Paper, Apr. 21, 1892. 



134 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [134 

When they came to the question of definitely launching' 
the new party, a number of the delegates who opposed such 
a step retired from the hall, and protested that neither they 
nor their respective organizations were bound by the action 
of those who remained. The majority rump resolved itself 
into a mass-meeting, declared for the People's Party, and 
called a convention to meet in Omaha on July 2 to nominate 
a presidential ticket.'' 

Meanwhile Congress was getting organized and prepar- 
ing to discuss some of these matters. In selecting a chair- 
man of the Committee on Ways and Means, Crisp passed 
over Roger Q. Mills of Texas, who had held the place under 
Cleveland and had drafted the tariff bill of 1888, and ap- 
pointed Wm. M. Springer of Illinois, who was more con- 
servative.^ Mills was known to favor the passage of a 
general tariff measure; while Springer preferred to attack 
certain of the weakest points in the McKinley Act through 
separate bills, " thus breaking it down by degrees." In the 
course of the next two years, several " pop-gun " bills were 
passed by the House, but were blocked in the Republican 
Senate.^ R. P. Bland was made chairman of the Committee 
on Coinage, and a free-silver bill was introduced in March, 
1892. It escaped the table by the casting vote of the speaker, 
eighty Democrats supporting the move to lay it aside. It 
finally expired in a filibuster.* A similar bill passed the 
Senate on July i, supported by 18 Democrats and 11 Repub- 
licans, and opposed by 7 Democrats and 18 Republicans, 
34 members not voting. The House refused to take up the 

^Constitution, Feb. 26; Morning News, Feb. 26, Apr. 4, 1892. 

'D. R. Dewey, National Problems, pp. 181-182. 

'Ibid. 

*Ibid., p. 232; Congressional Record, 52nd Cong., ist Sess., pt. iii, 
p. 2543- Cf. Watson, " The Night Free Silver Wa.s Killed," in Watson's 
Jeffersonian Magazine, vol. i, pp. 1128 et seq. 



135] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 135 

question again; a number of Democrats who had been 
friendly to silver now voting in the negative, on the ground 
that they could not afford further to emphasize the disagree- 
ment within their organization while the campaign was in 
progress.^ The question of rural credits was almost ignored 
at this session. 

It was obvious that both the old parties were all but hope- 
lessly divided on the main issues of the time. And there 
was little indication that the revolt in the South and West 
was regarded with sufficient concern by the major leaders to 
force a realignment in the presidential campaign of 1892 — • 
except perhaps to make the tariff issue a little sharper. 

The Republicans met in convention at Minneapolis, June 
7. Their platform was sufficiently Janus-faced to meet 
the demands of conflicting groups. The tariff was the only 
important issue on which their stand was quite clear. After 
the usual reference to the past glories of the party, they re- 
affirmed " the American doctrine of protection," and 
especially commended the McKinley Act. " The Republi- 
can policy of reciprocity, , , , . executed by a Republican 
administration," would, it was claimed, " eventually give 
us control of the markets of the world." The money ques- 
tion was straddled, as follows: 

The American people, from tradition and interest, favor bi- 
metalism, and the Republican party demands the use of both 
gold and silver as standard money, [but] with such restrictions 
and under such provisions to be determined by legislation, as 
will secure the maintenance of the parity of values of the two 
metals. . . . 

They claimed to favor some sort of international agreement 
tinder which a parity might be insured, but it seems to have 

'Dewey, p. 232; Congl. Record, S2nd Cong., ist Sess., pt. vi, pp. 5719. 
5774, 5780, 6131-6133. 



136 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [136 

ibeen understood in conservative quarters that no very serious 
effort was being made, or was likely to be made, in this di- 
rection/ Laws to insure a free 'ballot to every American 
citizen were advocated, and the " inhuman outrages perpe- 
trated .... for political reasons in certain Southern 
states " were denounced, the implication being that some- 
thing like the Force Bill was demanded. In very general 
and more or less ambiguous terms, it was declared that our 
merchant marine should be encouraged, trusts opposed, im- 
migration regulated, arid public lands improved, delivery of 
mail extended into rural districts, and the old soldiers 
taken care of. Harrison was nominated for a second term.^ 
The Democrats met in Chicago, June 211. Their plat- 
form was almost, if not quite, as indefinite as that of their 
major foe. The Force Bill received first and fullest atten- 
tion. It was said to be a dangerous violation of the most 
cherished principles of the Democratic party, " as formulated 
by Jefferson, and exemplified by ,the long and illustrious line 
of his successors in Democratic leadership, from Madison 
toQeveland; ". . . . namely those of " free popular govern- 
ment, based on home rule and individual liberty." A re- 
turn to these principles " was never more urgent than now." 
Two separate tariff planks were proposed; the one a com- 
promise, and the other a vigorous denunciation of " Re- 
publican protection as a fraud, a robbery of the great major- 
ity of the American people for the benefi.t of the few." The 
latter was adopted. Reciprocity was declared to be "a 

'A conference representing twenty countries met at Brussels in Nov., 
1892, to consider plans for increasing the use of silver as money. 
International bimetalism as such was scarcely considered. No other 
plan was devised which seemed at all likely to be adopted. The meeting 
adjourned in Jan., 1893, promising to reconvene the following May, 
but never reassembled. See A. B. Hepburn, Hist, of the Currency in 
the U. S., pp. 346-347. 

'Edw. Stanwood, History of the Presidency, pp. 494-497. 



137] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 137 

time-honored doctrine of Democratic faith," but the Re- 
publican brand was a " sham." The money plank was 
nicely balanced, reading as follows : 

We denounce the Republican legislation known as the Sherman 
Act of 1890 as a cowardly makeshift.^ . . . We hold to the use 
of both gold and silver as the standard money of the country, 
and to the coinage of both gold and silver without discrimi- 
nation against either metal or charge for mintage: [presto 
change!] but the dollar unit of coinage of both metals must be 
of equal intrinsic and exchangeable value, or be adjusted 
through international agreement, or by such safeguards of 
legislation as shall insure the maintenance of the parity. . . . 

It was claimed that the Republicans had given away the 
great public domain to the railroads and other corporations ; 
that the Democrats during Cleveland's administration had 
rescued nearly a hundred million acres, illegally held, and 
proposed to make further restoration to the people. In 
general again, it was urged that trusts should be further 
restrained, immigration restricted, waterways improved, zmd 
the old soldiers taken care of. Cleveland was nominated on 
the first ballot.^ 

The People's Party met at Omaha on July 2. Their plat- 
form, which they wished to go down in history as the 
Second Declaration of Independence, was adopted on the 
Glorious Fourth. A severe arraigrunent of existing condi- 
tions introduced the program. The following is an ex- 
cerpt : ^ 

■This act, which superseded the Bland- Allison Act of 1878, authorized 
the secretary of the treasury to purchase 4,500,000 ounces of silver each 
month at the market price, and to issue treasury notes of full legal 
tender in payment therefor. These notes should be redeemable in 
either gold or silver coin at the discretion of the secretary. 

'Stanwood, pp. 498-504. 

*Ibid., pp. 508-513. 



138 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [138 

The conditions which surround us best justify our coopera- 
tion. We meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge 
of moral, poHtical, and material ruin. Corruption dominates 
the ballot-box, the legislature, the Congress, and touches even 
the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized; most 
of the states have been compelled to isolate the voters at the 
polling-places to prevent universal intimidation or bribery. 
The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled; public 
opinion silenced; business prostrated; our homes covered with 
mortgages ; labor impoverished ; and the land concentrating in 
the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the 
right of organization for self-protection; imported pauperized 
labor beats down their wages; a hireling standing army, tm- 
recognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and 
they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions.^ The 
fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal 
fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; 
and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the republic and 
endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of govern- 
mental injustice we breed the two great classes of tramps 
and millionaires. 

The national power to create money is appropriated to enrich 
bondholders ; a vast public debt, payable in legal tender cur- 
rency, has been funded into gold-bearing bonds, thereby add- 
ing millions to the burdens of the people. Silver, which has 
been accepted as coin since the dawn of history, has been 
demonetized to add to the purchasing power of gold by de- 
creasing the value of all forms of property as well as human 

^ This refers to the disorders which had occurred shortly before at 
Homestead, Pa. The Carnegie Steel Co'. had reduced the wages of 
its employees, and when the Amalgamated union sought to intervene 
had resorted to a shutdowm, hoping to reopen the mills with non-union 
labor. Anticipating trouble, the managers, instead of appealing to the 
legal authorities, employed a private " army " from the Pinkerton 
detective agency. A pitched battle resulted in which seven of the 
Pinkerton men were killed and a larger number of the workmen. See 
H. T. Peck, Twenty Years of the Republic, p. 300. 



139] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 139 

labor; and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to 
fatten usurers, bankrupt enterprise, and enslave industry. A 
vast conspiracy against mankind has been organized on two 
continents, and is rapidly taking possession of the world. If 
not met and overthrown at once, it forebodes terrible social 
convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establish- 
ment of an absolute despotism. 

We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century 
the struggles of the two great political parties for power and 
plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the 
suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences 
dominating both these parties have permitted the existing 
dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent 
or restrain them. Neither do they now promise us any sub- 
stantial reform. They have agreed together to ignore in the 
campaign every issue but one. They propose to drown the 
outcries of a plundered people with the uproar of a sham 
battle over the tariff ; so that capitalists, corporations, national 
banks, rings, trusts, watered stock, the demonetization of silver 
and the oppression of the usurers may all be lost sight of . . . . 

Assembled on the anniversary of the birthday of the nation, 
and filled with the spirit of the grand general chief who estab- 
lished our independence, we seek to restore the government of 
the Republic to the hands of " the plain People "... We de- 
clare . . . that the Civil War is over, and that every passion 
and resentment which grew out of it must die with it ; and that 
we must be in fact, as we are in name, one united brotherhood 
of free men. . . . 

The union of the labor forces of the United States this day 
consummated shall be permanent and perpetual. . . 

The platform demanded: 

On Finance — The issue of all currency by the federal 
govermnent, to be distributed by means of loans to pro- 
ducers under the sub-treasury or some better system, and by 
remuneration for civil service; " free and unlimited coinage 



I40 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [140 

of silver and gold at the present legal ratio of sixteen to 
one ; " increase in the circulating medium to not less than 
fifty dollars per capita; a graduated income tax; limitation 
of revenues to the necessary expenses of government ; postal 
savings banks. 

On Transportation — Government ownership and opera- 
tion of railway, telegraph, and telephone systems. 

On Land — iReclamation of all lands held by railroads 
and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and 
those owned by aliens, for the benefit of bona-fide settlers. 

An additional set of resolutions, not incorporated in the 
main platform, was adopted " as expressive of the senti- 
ment of this convention." These called for fair and liberal 
pensions, further restriction of undesirable immigration, 
rigid enforcement of the eight-hour law for government em- 
ployees, abolition of private detective agencies, and a Con- 
situational amendment providing for a single term for Presi- 
dent and popular election of Senators ; and recommended to 
the states the Austrian ballot system and the initiative and 
referendum.^ 

^A number of these issues, om which the major parties had refused 
to commit themselves, had been, advocated before by other minor parties, 
which were in a more or less real sense forerunners of the Populists. 
The Labor iReformers of 1872, a group composed mostly of urban 
workingmen, had called for the issue of all paper money by the govern- 
ment, the preservation of the national domain for actual settlers only, 
and the eight-hour day for government employees. The Greenbackers 
had demanded the issue of all currency by the government direct (in 
1876, 1880 and 1884), free silver (in 1880 and 1884), a graduated income 
tax (in 1880 and 1884) and the preservation of the national domain 
for actual settlers (in 1880 and 1884). The Union Labor party of 
1888, which was the immediate precursor of the People's, had cham- 
pioned all the issues in the main platform of the latter, except that their 
credit scheme included only land as security; and all those in the supple- 
mentary group above, except the single term for president, the Australian 
ballot system, and the abolition of private detective agencies. See S. C. 
Wallace, " Influence of Minor Parties," MS. in Columbia Univ. Library. 



141 ] BLASTING AT THE SOUD SOUTH 141 

The Jeremiahs had spoken : now for a Moses to lead them. 
President Polk, of the Southern Alliance, had been favor- 
ably considered in the South ; but he had died shortly before 
the convention met. There was a bogm for Judge Walter Q. 
Gresham, of Illinois, who had won great favor with the 
farmers because of his decisions in certain Granger cases. 
He was also the choice of the delegates from the Knights of 
Labor. The balloting was held up until an answer could 
be obtained from him by wire as to whether he would ac- 
cept the nomination. He replied in the negative. The re- 
maining candidates who had been most widely considered 
were James H. Kyle and James Baird Weaver. Kyle was 
a Populist Senator from South Dakota, and was said to re- 
present the " new blood." Weaver had been allied with 
the farmers' cause since the flood tide of the Granger Move- 
ment. Originally a Democrat, he had joined the Repub- 
lican crusade in the late fifties; had risen to the rank of 
brigadier general in the Union army; had returned 
to political life as a Republican; had become con- 
vinced in the seventies that his party no longer represented 
the interests of the plain people, and had joined the Inde- 
pendents ; had served three terms in Congress as the repre- 
sentative of the latter, in coalition with the Democrats ; had 
been the Greenback candidate for President in 1880; and 
was now a leader of the Populists. He defeated Kyle by a 
vote of 995 to 265. As a matter of political tactics, his 
nomination was probably a mistake. While to those who 
understood the situations he had faced, he was by no means 
as inconsistent as his chequuered career seemed to indicate; to 
many others, he was a political adventurer who " ran with 
all parties and was true to none." Some writers have deemed 
it unfortunate in a sense that Judge Gresham refused the 
nomination. Had he accepted, said the editor of the Review 
of Reviews, " there would have been a great stirring up of 



142 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [142 

dry bones." Kyle, though less widely known than Weaver, 
was more distinctly associated with the new movement. 
The politicians of the old parties are said to have breathed 
easier when they foui\d themselves confronted with their 
old familiar enemy. With a Northern general at the head 
of the ticket, it was quite politic to have a Southern general 
as his running mate. Hence James G. Field, of Virginia, 
was selected for second place.^ 

The " riotous scenes " at St. Louis seem to have been 
transcended by the " delirium " at Omaha. " No intelligent 
man could sit in that audience," wrote an observer .... 
" and listen to the wild and frenzied assaults upon the exist- 
ing order of things, without a feeling of great alarm at the 
extent and intensity of the social lunacy there displayed." 
When the platform was adopted, " cheers and yells .... 
rose like a tornado from four thousand throats and raged 
without cessation for thirty- four minutes, during which 
women shrieked and wept, men embraced and kissed their 
neighbors, locked arms, marched back and forth, and leaped 
upon tables and chairs in the ecstacy of their delirium." 
Such critics seem to have been at a loss to explain these out- 
bursts. The observer just quoted saw in them " spectres of 
Nationalism, Socialism,^ and general discontent." Some 

^Natl. Econ., July 9, 1892; Constn., July 3-7; Morn. News, July 5, 6; 
People's Party Paper, July 8, 15, etc., 1892; Review of Reviews, vol. vi, 
p. 9 (Aug., 1892). Also' Haynes, Third Party Mavis., pp. 261-264 
and Weaver, pp. 310-314. 

'Seeking to show that the new party was Socialistic, Professor F. L. 
McVey, the first historian of Populism, writing in 1896, collected planks 
from the Platforms of the Socialist Labor Party, the Central Labor 
Union of Cleveland, and ami American book on Socialism, and ranged 
them in parallel columns with those of the Populists. Numerically, the 
comparison was striking. Both groups advocated government owner- 
ship of railroads, postal savings banks, paper money, abolition of the 
national banking system, an income tax, enforcement of the eight-hour 
law for government employees, reclamation of land grants the condition 



143] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 143 

could see only the work of dangerous agitators ; while others 
dismissed the whole affair as " pure cussedness." ^ 

If the party's following proved to be as numerous as it 
was loud, the campaign would reveal some startling results. 
The scenes at St. Louis and Omaha were repeated on a 
small scale in thousands of communities in the West and 
South during the summer of 1892. In Georgia, the yard- 
stick race of 1890 seemed quite mild in comparison. More 
than a score of Populist weeklies arose, pouring forth their 
volleys into " the rotten old parties," while the wool-hat 
crowds yelled, " Turn the rascals out ! " ^ 

The Populist state convention sought to induce Watson 
to accept the gubernational nomination, but he preferred to 
seek a referendum from the tenth district on his record in 
Congress. The convention then decided upon W. L. Peek, 
" a real dirt farmer " who had been a strong Allianceman 
and People's Party advocate. He was a man of some abil- 

of which had not been met, a single term for the President, direct 
election of Senators, the initiative and referendum. The Populist column 
was blank, of course, opposite the Socialist demands for the abolition 
of private property in the means of production ; also for the abolition 
of inheritance, the wage system, and the competitive system. Thus, 
only four out of the fourteen Socialist planks assembled had no equiv- 
alent in the other side of the balance. He apparently failed to notice 
that those four were quite fundamental; and that the others, while 
some of them smacked of Socialism in the same way that the U. S. 
Mail does, scarcely constituted its ear-marks. He even fancied that 
the Populist statement that land " is the natural heritage of the people 
and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes " was a veiled 
threat at national ownership of land. Knowing the strong individualism 
of the American farmer on this point as he must have known it, the 
historian must have been suffering from a mental complex. (See 
Economic Studies, vol. i, p. 183. 

' See Haynes, Third Party Movts., p. 263 ; F. B. Tracy, " Menacing 
Socialism in the Western States," Forum, vol. xv, p. 332; Morn. News, 
Jul. s-7, Aug. 25, 1892; clippings, iWatson, colln. 

'People's Party Paper, Dec, 1891-Oct., 1892. Clippings, Watson colln. 



144 ^-^^ POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [144 

ity, but was not a good campaigner. Northen, of course, 
would be his Democratic opponent, and would have the sup- 
port of a number of conservative farmers, as well as the 
business men, and the " regulars " generally. The Popu- 
lists put out a full ticket. Their state platform endorsed 
that of Omaha, condemned the convict lease system, de- 
manded rigid economy in all public matters, and called 
especial attention to the fact that " producers " were bearing 
much more than their just share of taxation. Being com- 
mitted by the Omaha program to government ownership of 
railroads, they dropped their demands for further regulatory 
measures.^ The Democrats endorsed the Chicago declara- 
tion, called for economy in administration and extension 
of the powers of the railway commission.^ State issues 
were subordinate to national, even more than they were in 
1890, and, in the minds of the Democracy at least, both were 
subordinate to questions of political expediency, party tradi- 
tion, and personalities. 

Watson held the centre of the stage. Whether as saint 
or as devil, he was the incarnation of Populism. His let- 
ters to the People's Party Paper, and the press accoimts of 
his opinions and behavior, were read, reread, and vehe- 
mently discussed. Both factions watched his every move in 
Washington in order to prove him a Moses or a Judas. 

Whether for political effect or with the hope that some 
actual good might come of them, he introduced a number 
of bills in Congress, most of which, as might have been ex- 
pected, never came back from committee rooms. Some of 
these were : — ^to increase the currency ; to abolish the national 
banking system; to create an income tax; to prevent the 

^People's Party Paper, July 22, 29, 1892. Constitution, July 21, 1892; 
Knight, p. 975. All state-house officers were renominated by the Demo- 
crats except one. 

'Constitution, Aug. 9-11, 1892. 



145] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 145 

pa3anent in advance of interest on government bonds; to 
establish a system of sub-treasuries; to remove the tariff 
on jute, jute bagging, iron tires, binding wire, etc.; and to 
regulate private detective agencies.^ He was a fiery ad- 
vocate of free silver and free trade. Perhaps his most not- 
able achievement was in connection with the postal service. 
Petitions were pouring in upon Congress, urging that the 
delivery of mail be extended into rural communities. A 
number of bills and resolutions to this effect were introduced 
during the first session, but without practical results. At 
the next session, Watson succeeded in attaching an amend- 
ment to the post-office appropriation bill providing for the 
first experiment in strictly rural delivery. 'He thus became 
the proud " father " of the R. F. D.* 

Watson was greatly perturbed by the dilatory methods 
of Congress, and the alleged shams and moral laxity of 
his fellow members. They dawdled and filibustered over 
vital measures, were suspiciously intimate with lobbyists, 
hung around the capitol bar, came upon the floor of the 
House and even tried to speak when in a drunken state. 
One member from Alabama was alleged to have been so in- 
toxicated while speaking that " in the midst of maudlin ram- 
blings, [he] was heard to ask, ' Mr. Speaker, where am I 
at?'" These charges appeared in print in July, 1892. 
The sensation produced in the House may well be imagined. 
There was talk of expelling Watson. An investigation was 
instituted which seems to have convinced the majority of 
the members that the gentleman from Alabana was only 
weary from his part in a long filibuster, and was sipping 
some innocent beverage from a cup on his desk. Brought 
before the bar of the House, Watson seems to have been 

^Congressional Rec, gznd Cong., ist Sess., Index, p. 623. 

*Congl. Rec, S2nd Cong., ist Sess., pp. 4769, 4799, 4803, 4927, 4958; 
ibid., 2nd Sess., pp. 1756, I7S9, iSoi, I94i, 2014, 2316, 2322, 2370, 2532, 2618. 
See also Life and Speeches; Tom Watson's Magaeine, vol. i, p. 412. 



\/ 



146 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [146 

rather obstreperous. According to his version, the matter 
was dropped because he was telling too much. As Geor- 
gians viewed the affairs, a great reformer had dared defy the 
the powers that be, and had stirred a wholesome fear among 
the corruptible; or, else, a crank and a nuisance had been 
unable to adjust himself to a strange environment, had in- 
sulted an honorable Southern gentleman, and had forever 
lost whatever influence he might have had in Congress.^ 

These charges had appeared in Watson's Campaign Book, 
which bore as its major title, " Not a Revolt! It is a Revolu- 
tion," but which the press referred to as " Tom's Book." It 
was a manifesto of Populism in Georgia, and to a greater 
or less extent in other states. Written in a plain, often 
slangy, but extremely vigorous and catchy style, it traced 
the " crimson trail " of the corporate interest, and of their 
" vassals," the old parties, since the Civil War ; showing 
how the Money Power " speculated upon the disasters of the 
country, and grew rich upon her distress," made the gov- 
ernment a means for gratifying their own rapacity, and, when- 
ever the people sought measures of relief, shouted " class 
legislation ! " No class legislation was more flagrant, he 
thought, than that which created and maintained the national 
banking system, gave away the public domain to greedy cor- 
porations, robbed the plain people of billions through tariff 
laws, which only filled the coffers of factory owners, while 
the miserable worker was deluded into the belief that he was 

^Constitution and Morning News, July 30- Aug. 5; People's Party 
Paper, Aug. S, 1892. T. V. Powderly of the Knights of Labor, who 
witnessed the investigation wrote (.People's Party Paper, Aug. 26) that 
when Watson was called upon to explain, it seemed that the purpose of 
the House was rather to keep him from explaining. The minority 
report of the committee, defending Watson, was " misplaced," and hence 
not printed by the government. The majority report, condemning him, 
was printed in great numbers, it seems (ibid.) and spread over the state 
by the Democrats. Watson then had the other printed at his own ex- 
pense, and spread by the Populists. 



147] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 147 

the gainer. And the crime against silver! All the hypo- 
critical cant about " honest money " simply meant at bottom 
the maintenance of an appreciating dollar for the creditor 
class, and the continued robbery of the debt-burdened pro- 
ducers. Wherein lay the honesty of a system which con- 
tinually narrowed the returns, and appreciated the debts o£ 
toiling millions, while it added to the wealth of those already 
surfeited? How much longer would the poor farmers and 
factory workers permit themselves to be deceived by the 
politician who thrilled them with past glories and scared 
them with spectres of black rule, while he registered the 
commands of their oppressors in laws which they did not 
understand! Both the old parties were guilty. The De- 
mocrats blamed the Republicans, but investigation showed 
that their representatives had helped to fasten the chains. 
Even those whose constituents had been most adversely 
affected had been accessories to such acts as " the crime of 
'73 ; " then when upbraided by the voters had whined that 
they " didn't know it was loaded." The Democratic 
machine had come as fully under the sway of powerful 
business groups as had the Republican. Not that all poli- 
ticians were conscious tools of such groups : Cleveland, for 
example, was thought to be honest in purpose, but possessed 
of the dominant financial theories of his section, and unable 
to appreciate the situation which the masses of the people 
faced. The Eastern Democracy as a whole, down to the 
Tweed ring and its " puppet," David B. Hill, was dominated 
by the same principles. And as long as it could take the 
vote of the Solid South for granted, it could swing the 
party. Hence the South could never have any appreciable 
influence in national councils until that coalition were 
blasted."- 

•Similar arguments were employed by the various Populist writers 
and speakers. See People's Party Paper, Dec., 1891-Oct., 1892; also 
clippings from Alliance Farmer and others, Watson colln. 



1^8 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [148 

The regulars maintained, on the other hand, that no new 
party was needed. The Southern Democracy had heard 
the voice of the farmers, and was fully in line with their 
demands in essential matters. The party had an excellent 
chance to gain complete control of the federal government; 
the Southern wing was stronger than ever before since the 
Civil War, and could largely shape its policies. It would 
hence be a great misfortune if in the hour of triumph the 
party should come to grief because of the desertion of a 
Southern state.^ The liberal, or compromise, wing favored 
Hill as the presidential nominee. Although he was not a 
silverite, he was thought to be more of a politician than 
Qeveland, it seems, and hence more likely to bow to the 
majority. They had accepted Qeveland gracefully, how- 
ever, hoping he would change his mind on the silver ques- 
tion.^ In the matter of the platform, they claimed that 
the South had gained a great victory. " I insisted," wrote 
the Georgia member of the platform committee, " that for 
twenty years the Southern states had appeared in the 
national Democratic convention, and were told what was 
necessary to carry New York and Indiana for the Democ- 
racy; but that the time had come when they were brought 
face to face with the problem of retaining the Solid South." 
Hence this section was well represented on the sub-com- 
mittee; which accounted, he said, for the Force-Bill plank 
being made the most prominent, and for the definite stand 
upon the tariff. He claimed that no surrender had been 
made on the silver question. Admitting that the original 

'^Constitution, Jan. 11, 14 16, 1891, Mar. 25, 31, Apr. i, June 25, 1892; 
Mom. News, June S, 1891, March 3, 24, 1892; also clippings from 
various papers in Watson and Northen collns. 

*Ibid., also Appleton's Annual Cyc, 1892, p. 308. The Atlanta Journal 
(Hoke Smith's organ) supported Cleveland, as did the Morning News, 
and others of the conservative group. Smith was the leader of the 
Cleveland forces. See Knight, p. 975. 



149] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 149 

draft had called for " free " coinage, he said that certain 
members from the North had urged that in their communi- 
ties a different interpretation was placed upon this term 
from that current in the South ; hence the phrase " without 
charge for mintage " was substituted. Whether from 
finesse or from naivete, he declared that the plank quite 
satisfied the free-silver element.^ And the Constitution 
added that since silver and the tariff were the most im- 
portant issues there was not enough difference between 
Populism and reformed Democracy to warrant a schism. 
It deplored the fact that some of the conservative dailies 
had " sought to read the Alliance out of the Democratic 
party," and to make it appear that the principles of the 
two were diametrically opposed. " This is a poor way to 
conciliate the farmers." Upon the papers which had fol- 
lowed this course rested the responsibility for the existence 
of a third party in Georgia.^ 

The Morning News, the Augusta Chronicle, and a number 
of other papers cast the blame upon those who had himiored 
the whims of the radicals, telling them that the " Ocala 
fraud " was good Democratic doctrine.* Such organs were 
not quite clear as to their attitude toward free silver at this 
time, though within the next few years most of them came 
out against it. They kept up an intermittent fire upon the 
sub-treasury; but the Populists succeeded to some extent in 
throwing the Democrats on the defensive in this matter. 
A number of the latter had embraced the project in 1890, 

^Constitution, June 25, 1892. The states represented on the sub- 
committee were Va., Term., Ga., Mo., Del., Cal., Mich., Ind., N. J., 
and Mass. 

' Constitution, Mar. 25, Apr. i, June 25, 1892. This paper also favored 
a federal income tax and revision of the nat'l banking system (June 
8, 1891). 

'Mom. News, June 5, 1891, Mar. 3, 24, 31, Apr. 6, 1892. 



Ijo THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [150 

while others had accepted its principle. The Populists had 
called for proposals as to rvision, or for a substitute plan 
which would offer more reasonable credit facilities to the 
farmers as well as a more elastic currency. The Democrats 
had not agreed upon any. Some of them thought that re- 
pealing the prohibitive tax upon note issues of state banks 
would help. But many conservative Democrats objected 
to this. So did the Populists. Watson thought it quite in- 
consistent in Major Black, his opponent, to denounce gov- 
ernment " rag money " and advocate a revival of " wild- 
cat " bank issues.^ All the regulars attacked government 
ownership of railroads. It was " too wild a scheme to be 
thought of seriously." The roads would cost more money 
than was possessed by all the governments of the world 
combined. If they were bought with greenbacks, a dollar 
would soon be as worthless as a Confederate " shin-plaster." 
The Constitution, wishing no doubt to draw attention away 
from questions on which the party was divided, sought to 
make this the chief platform issue.'' 

If the Democrats were not altogether agreed on platform 
issues, they were in full accord on matters of political ex- 
pediency and party tradition. And these received greatest 
attention. " Stand by the old party ! " was a headline often 
seen on the editorial page. " A vote for Weaver is a vote 
for Harrison." " The People's Party hasn't a ghost of a 
show to elect a president, and whatever strength it gains in 
the South will only advantage the Republicans." With 
the Force Bill pending, " a revival of bayonet rule is threat- 

^Ibid., Apr. i, 3, Aug. 7, 1892. Black had been a major in the 
Confederate army, and was now a brilliant lawyer and able politician. 
His home was in Augusta. Knight, p. 1723; Southern Cultivator, 
May, i8go. 

'Constitution., Mar. 4, Jul. 6, 26, Aug. 10, 1892; Mom. News, Sep. 
17, 1892. 



151 J BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 151 

ened." ^ Republicans were said to be rejoicing over the 
prospect of breaking the SoUd South. Their hand was 
plainly seen in the new movement. Some of their leaders in 
the state had already turned Populists, while others were 
plotting fusion. It was the old enemy in a new guise. 
Surely the white people of Georgia had not forgotten the 
terrible years of black Republican rule, and the glorious 
record of the Democratic party in redeeming the state from 
that infamy. Even now the Populists were courting the 
negro vote. Watson had an insolent negro friend cam- 
paigning in his behalf.^ What might such an alliance bring 
forth! The loyal whites must organize, and — ^teach the 
darkies that the Democrats are their real friends. Many 
of them were already very fond of Northen, for he was 
know to be exceptionally kind to his colored " hands." * 

As may well be imagined, the campaign was extremely 
turbulent. The Populist zealots revived the fires of poli- 
tical dissent of 1880, now greatly intensified by the outburst 
of economic protest. Long accustomed to having their 
way, the Democratic leaders were naturally intolerant of 
otpposition. Numerous debates were scheduled as in 1890. 
Some of these were httle short of riots.* Weaver aban- 
doned his campaign in Georgia after meeting a few appoint- 
ments, because of " the spirit of rowdyism " which he en- 
countered at the hands of " the young roughs who infested 

^Constitution, Jan. 11, 14, 16, Mar. 25, 31, Apr. i, June 24, 25; Mom. 
News, Oct. 9, 1892. Watson declared that the whole argument of the 
regulars could be "boiled down into one word, NIGGER" (P. P. P., 
Aug. 26, 1892). 

'Mom. News, Apr. 6, 16, Aug. 13; Constitution, Apr. 7, 1892. 

'Mom. News, Mar. 24, 31, Apr. 6, 11, 14, Oct. 28; Constn., Jul. 11, 
Aug. 9, 10, 1892. 

'■Morn. News, Constn., and P- P. P., Aug. -'Oct., 1892. Campaign 
literature in 'Northen and Watson CoUns. 



152 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [152 

the towns," egged on, he thought, by others who kept in the 
background/ 

Except in some of the factory settlements, the towns- 
people were almost all Democratic, and were inclined to 
look upon the Populists with great disdain. Here. and there 
a professional man — ^perhaps with thwarted political am- 
bitions, though not necessarily so, — dared to counter the 
dominant opinion and feeling of his community. Among 
the white farmers, probably a majority were Populists, the 
proportion being greater among the poorer groups. Re- 
latively few of the great planters were radical. The " yeo- 
manry" divided, often brother against brother and father 
against son.^ Watson's brother was secretary of the mass 
meeting in Thomson which read him out of the Democratic 
party when he " deserted " the caucus.* 

Sub-Alliances debated the question of political action with 
much vigor ; many of them passed resolutions indorsing the 
new party, though some passed contrary ones declaring that 
the order had no right to interfere with the politics of its 
members. Even where the former type prevailed, conser- 
vatives did not regard themselves as bound.* In the state 
convention, resolutions were introduced indorsing the 
People's Party, and commending the course of editor Irwin 
of the Alliance Parmer who had been an ardent third-party 
advocate. A compromise was agreed upon whereby the 
former was dropped and the latter was passed. The order 
had become predominantly Populist, it seems; but as the 

■See Haynes, Weaver, pp. 324-325; Constn., Oct. i; campaign circulars 
bitterly denouncing Weaver, Northen colln. 

'See infra, ch. v. 

* People's Party Paper, Mar. 3, 1892. 

*The Alliance Farmer claimed as early as Mar. 22, 1892, that 1600 
out of 2200 sub-Alliances had reported resolutions passed indorsing the 
action of St. Louis. Cf. Constn., Apr. 12, 1892; Morn. News, Apr. 8, 
May S. Aug. 20, iSga. 



153] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 153 

membership had begun to decline the radicals wished to 
avoid an open breach/ 

It became evident early in the campaign that the negroes 
would hold the balance of power. The Populists sought to 
enlist their support through the Colored Alliance. They 
would have had better success no doubt had they been willing 
to effect a general fusion with the Republicans, but they 
were evidently afraid of injuring their cause with the whites. 
In reply to an inquiry from Republican leaders as to whether 
he would accept the nomination of their party, Peek said 
that he would welcome their votes, but would make no com- 
promise of Populist principles. They placed him on their 
ticket as gubernatorial nominee, but named separate candi- 
dates for other state offices. They made no nominations 
for Congress, and apparently their leaders rather generally 
supported the Populist candidates, but they were unable to 
swing the negro vote en masse. ^ The Democrats had had 
experience in dealing with the colored vote. They had 
learned how to eliminate it in reconstruction times, and how 
to utilize it in the years of party schism a decade later. 
Tradition, custom, and election laws were all in their favor. 
A supremely desirable end was thought to justify question- 
able means, especially in the face of a situation which had 
been forced upon them at the bayonet's point. Thus in- 
timidation, bribery, ballot-box stuffing, and manipulation 
of the count, while deplored, were thought to be lesser evils 
than the loss of political control by the " respectable " ele- 
ments and the jeopardizing of the social order. 

•Aforn. News, Aug. 20; P. P. P., Aug. 26; All. Far., Nov. 24, 1892. 
There had been a strong effort to keep the Alliance from taking any 
action favorable to the new party. Gordon had joined the order in 
Mar., 1891 {Constn., Mar. 7), and had added his influence to that of 
Northen, Livingston, and others toward this end. 

'See correspondence, clippings, hand-bills, etc., Northen and Watson 
collns. 



154 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [154 

Grady's predictions came true. " With intelligence and 
property divided," the negro vote did " invite the debauch- 
ing bid of factions " and make " corruption and cunning the 
price of victory." By no means all of the negroes were 
corruptible, nor were all of the whites incorruptible; but 
the very large element of the former who were, played the 
most conspicuous role in the solemn farce of election day. 
Many of the planters and owners of turpentine stills took 
their " hands " to the polls and voted them in gangs. In 
some of the towns and cities, all-night revelries were held 
for the darkies on the night before the election. Barbecue 
was served, with whiskey and beer by the barrel. Next 
morning the dusky revelers were marched to the polls by 
beat of drum, carefuUy guarded lest some desert in search 
of another reward. In some cities bands of them were said 
to have been taken from one polling place to another and 
voted under different names. According to the testimony 
produced in the Watson-Black contested election case, 
negroes were brought over from South Carolina in four- 
horse wagon loads and voted at various precincts in Augusta. 

At one precinct there were three ballot boxes, separated 
by a temporary wall, apparently to facilitate repeating. In 
this way the vote of Augusta seems to have been double the 
number of legal voters — eighty per cent of it being De- 
mocratic. The evidence further indicates that the " job- 
lash " was used by at least one of the Augusta mills to force 
employees, white and black, to vote " regular." Some who 
refused to heed the warning were discharged, and were told, 
according to their testimony, that this was the sole reason 
therefor. One of these was a white man 54 years old. 
Somewhat similar methods were employed, it seems, in the 
smaller towns. In the country, a considerable number of 
precincts with Populist majorities were thrown out on tech- 
nicalities. In some cases a man had been appointed as one 



155] BLASTING AT THE SOLID SOUTH 155 

of the election holders who proved not to be a free-holder or 
a magistrate, or not to have been properly sworn in, or else 
to be illiterate — any of which was contrary to law. In 
others one of the election holders neglected, or refused, to 
sign the returns, which likewise rendered them void. The 
Democrats were not the only sinners, to be sure; but they 
were more resourceful, and hence more successful at the 
game.^ 

The results showed a sweeping Democratic victory.^ 
Northen defeated Peek two to one. Qeveland, Harrison, 
and Weaver stood in a proportion of about 3 :i :i in 
Georgia. Only fourteen counties, and none of the Con- 
gressional districts, went Populist. In the country at large, 
Qeveland received 380,000 plurality over Harrison, with 
zyy out of 444 electoral votes. The Democrats gained pos- 
session of both houses of Congress, as well as the Presi- 
dency, for the first time since Buchanan's election in 1856. 
But Weaver surprised the country. He polled 1,040,886 
votes, carried four states (Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, and 
Nevada), and gained one electoral vote in each of two 
others (North Dakota and Oregon), giving him a total of 
22 electoral votes. The radicals were not discouraged. 

' See " Contested-Election Case of Thos. E. Watson vs. James C. C. 
Black." . . . (report of Congressional Committee, pamphlet, Lib. of 
Cong.) ; letters, clippings, pamphlets, etc., Watson colln. These things 
are matters of common knowledge among Georgians, especially in the 
black belt, who remember the Populist campaigns. 

'Georgia, House Journal, 1892, pp. 54 et seq. Copy of official count 
in detail in Constitution, Oct. 28, 1892. Presidential vote in Stanwood, 
517; iComgressional vote in Tribune Almanac, 1893, p. 270. 



CHAPTER V 
" The Heart-Breaking Nineties " 

Economic conditions in the nineties greatly favored the 
growth of dissent. The most disastrous panic in our history 
occurred in 1893, and was followed by a general depression, 
unusually prolonged and severe. In one year, 642 banks 
closed their doors, the liabilities of mercantile failures 
amounted to $374,000,000, and 29,340 miles of railway 
went into the hands of receivers. The " currency famine " 
became so acute that all sorts of illegal substitutes for money 
were resorted to. Interest rates soared, and for a time 
credit could scarcely be obtained at all. " Unemployment 
assumed vast proportions, and reacted in a most distressing 
fashion upon the demand for goods." There was a brief 
revival in the spring of 1895, followed by a renewal of the 
money stringency, and then of the gloomy depression which 
continued with little abatement for nearly three years longer.'' 

Agrarian and other debtor interests in the West and 
South were the worst sufferers. Prices, already at the 
lowest point of the century up to that time, continued to 
drop until near the close of the decade, farm products going 
lowest." Wheat went below fifteen cents a bushel on the 
farm, and cotton below five cents a pound.' This was 

' Wesley C Mitchell, Business Cycles, ch. iii ; D. R. Dewey, National 
Problems, pp. 253-266; Harry Thurston Peck, Twenty Years of the 
Republic, chs. vii-x ; W. Jett Lauck, Causes of the Panic of 1893, passim. 

2 Ralph G. Hurlin, " Course of U. S. Wholesale Prices for 100 Years," 
in Annalist, Apr. 11, 1921; U. S. Stat. Abs., 1915, pp. 525-526. 

•Dept. of Ag., Yearbook, 1899, pp. 759-765, 1901, p. 754- 

156 [156 



157] 



THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES' 



157 



Commercial Failures in the Nineties 

Per Cent of Firms Failing and Total Liabilities in Georgia and the 
United States 



Per oont ef 
all f 1ms 
3.0 



2.5 



2.0 



X.5 



l.O 









ii 


















1 1 

' 1 

1 1 

1 1 

1 

f 


a tot 


;l» 

i 
1 
1 


1 

\ 








^' 


/ 
/ 

/ 




\ / 


f 
1 
1 


I 

1 


\ 
\ 
\ 




1 
1 

f 

f 

1 


k 


/ 


^s 


./ 


J. 


\ 

3. 


\ 


\ 

\ 




\ 


1 










\ 


/ 





















Million 
dollar* 
600 



ie90 



X895 
rims foiling 



1900 I89O 




Based on figures in the United States Stalirticat Abstract, 1894, pp. 346, 365; 
ibid., 1900, pp. 389, 396. 

clearly below the cost of production ; hence the farmers sank 
more deeply in debt, and the dollars in which their debts 
were measured grew still larger in terms of their products. 
Tenancy increased.^ In the South the anaconda mortgage 

^Ahs. of 1 2th Census, p. 218. 



158 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [158 

system broadened its sway and tightened its grasp. But in 
spite of all precautions thousands of merchants went under. 
The percentage of business failures went higher in the South 
and West than in the East — more than twice as high in 
Georgia as in the country at large.^ In one Georgia town, 
merchants were said to have made full collection on about 
three per cent of their accounts in 1892, and to have gotten 
less than fifty cents on the dollar on most of the remaining.^ 
Total property values in the state, according to the tax re- 
turns, fell from 421 millions in 1892 to 4111, 338, and 37H 
millions, respectively, in the three succeding years. They 
did not show any appreciable recovery until 1900.^ 

It is difficult to describe the conditions which prevailed 
among the farmers without seeming to exaggerate. Credit 
accounts were so reduced that many commodities formerly 
regarded as necessities became luxuries, either dispensed 
with altogether or indulged but rarely. Despite the low 
price of flour, for example, many farmers in regions where 
wheat was not grown had to content themselves with com 
bread, except perhaps on Sundays when the neighbors were 
invited home with them from church. To a greater or less 
extent the same was true of other commodities not produced 
on their farms. " Our country is in a terrible condition," 
wrote the president of the Burke county Alliance to Watson 
in 1892. He thought most of the farmers would have been 
better off if they had not planted a seed, except for such pro- 
ducts as they needed for home consumption. They had run 
up accounts beyond their ability to pay, in order to produce 

' U. S. Stat. Abs., 1894, PP- 346, 36s ; ibid., 1900, pp. 389, 396. 

'Letter from W.. C. Stanford, President Burke County Alliance, to 
Watson (original in Watson collection, excerpts in Congressional Record, 
sand. Cong., ist Sess., pt. i, p. 600). 

'Ga. Comptroller-General, Reports, 1899, p. 4; 1916, p. 14. (Figures 
are exclusive of railroads.) 



159] 



"THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" 



159 



The Depression o» the Nineties in Geokgia as Registered in the 
Tax Returns 



dollaurs 



600 
500 












J 












/ 






r\ 




J 


f 




y 


f\ 




r 




300 

200 
100 









































n.T 



1880 



1890 



1900 



1910 



Based on the returns for all taxable property except railroads. Report of the 
Comptroller-General, 1910, p. 4. 



l6o THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [i6o 

goods which when sold left them without money or credit 
to supply their own needs. Even in the homes of the better- 
to-do, living became very close. Old clothes were patched 
and re-patched. Santa Claus became so poor that a hand- 
ful of candy was the limit of his annual blessing to many 
a country child. Gloom and discouragement were mingled 
with discontent.^ Housewives sang in melancholy tones 
to the air of " the Bonnie Blue Rag " : 

My husband came from town last night 

As sad as man could be, 
His wagon empty, cotton gone, 

And not a dime had he. 

Huzzah ! Huzzah ! 

'Tis queer, I do declare; 
We make the clothes for all the world, 

But few we have to wear. 

It was the song of the Populists, and each hard year in- 
creased the volume of the chorus. 

In the factory towns there was much tmemployment.* 
Marginal mills, which included nearly all the mills in this 
section, were among the first to succumb and among the last 
to recover. In Augusta, Macon, Columbus, and other 
Georgia towns where factories had newly appeared there 
was a great deal of suffering. And with the general spirit 
of unrest abroad in the land, labor was less inclined to ac- 
cept a fatalistic view of its troubles. 

Various explanations of the panic were given by contem- 
poraries. " Republicans, like Speaker Reed, assigned as 
cause the fear of tariff reductions aroused by the sweeping 

'Again we are dealing with matters of common knowledge in Georgia. 
See letter from Stanford, reference 6 supra. 

'Statistical data are very meager on this point in the United States, 
but in the case of the one industry for which they are available for the 
entire country, that of coal mining, the employment curve shows a great 
slump in the nineties. See Mitchell, pp. 268-269. 



1 6 1 ] " THE HEAR T-BREAKING NINE TIES" 1 6 1 

Democratic victories in the autumn of 1892. Democrats, 
like Governor Russel of Massachusetts, retorted that Re- 
publican legislation and extravagance were responsible." * 
The prevailing opinion among conservatives was that doubt 
concerning the maintenance of the gold standard was at least 
very largely to blame. Silverites believed, on the other 
hand, that the desperate efforts to cling to the gold standard 
in the face of the fact that the world's supply of the yellow 
metal was not increasing in proportion to the demand for 
it, was responsible for the appreciation of the dollar and for 
the corresponding fall in prices with the general disaster to 
producers. Some economists regarded it as " an economic 
crisis of the common sort produced by speculation, over- 
productiion, and under-consumption." ^ Regarding it as 
a phase of the modern business cycles, one still has to take 
into account numerous factors which tended to intensify the 
crash and to prolong its aftermath. •' 

On questions of remedial legislation, the Democrats were 
badly divided when they came into power in March, 1893. 
There was a strong demand from the South and West for 
unlimited coinage of silver, but Qeveland was determined to 
prevent any such move, and he had the support of the East- 
ern wing of his party. Liquidation had already set in be- 
fore the inauguration, and the panic stage was approaching. 
The finances of the government were in a precarious con- 
dition. In order to appreciate this situation and the de- 
velopments which followed, we should recall some of the 
important events of the preceding administration. 

When Harrison succeeded Cleveland as president in 1889 
he found a surplus of some one hundred million dollars in 
the Treasury, over and above the hundred million in gold 

'See Mitchell, p. Si- 

'Mitchell (p. 51) gives a number of references to periodical literature 
bearing on this subject. 



l62 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [162 

regarded as a necessary reserve for the redemption o£ 
greenbacks. This surplus had been a source of embarrass- 
ment to protectionists; for Qeveland and other tariff re- 
formers had pointed to it as an evidence that the tariff was 
needlessly high. Hence the Republican Congress of 1889- 
91 launched upon a policy of reckless appropriations for 
pensions, rivers and harbors, public buildings, etc. The 
Democratic Congress which followed was likewise extrava- 
gant. As a result, the surplus rapidly disappeared. In 
order further to provide against such an embarrassment in 
the future, the McKinley tariff of 1890 was framed with 
a view to reducing revenues while at the same time increas- 
ing the measure of protection to favored interests. This 
was done by making the schedules on some of the protected 
commodities so high as virtually to prohibit their importa- 
tion, and by reducing the duties on, or placing upon the 
free list, certain raw materials which had formerly yielded 
large revenues. The duty on sugar was removed and 
American producers were given a bounty, so that the gov- 
ernment incurred a double loss. The operation of the silver- 
purchase clause of the Sherman Act had likewise proved a 
drain upon the Treasury. Under it, twice as much silver 
was taken by the government as under the Bland Allison 
Act; the metal was now deposited in the treasury in the 
form of bullion, government notes were issued in payment 
for it, and the Secretary who was authorized to redeem 
these either in gold or in silver at the market price used his 
option to redeem them in gold. Thus the reserve was called 
upon to perform a double duty. Before Harrison left the 
White House the income of the government had become 
less than the outgo, and the reserve, now being drawn upon to 
pay current expenses, had fallen to the danger point.^ 

'Mitchell, pp. 51-54; Dewey, chs. iv, xi, xiv; Hepburn, chs. xvi, xx; 
Peck, pp. 197-198, 202-215. 



1 63 ] " THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES " 1 63 

Meanwhile the situation abroad had an important bear- 
ing upon affairs in this country. The long and gloomy de- 
pression had already settled down upon Europe. A crisis had 
occurred in France in 1889, in England in 1890 and soon 
had spread to other countries. There had been a minor 
crisis in the United States in 1890, but the process of liqui- 
dation had been halted and a superficial prosperity restored 
the following year because of a bountiful harvest in this 
country coincident with a shortage of crops in Europe. We 
thus received a welcome flow of gold in payment of trade 
balances. But the relief was only temporary. The cloud 
of depression hung over Europe until 1895. Gold was in 
great demand everywhere. A considerable tendency among 
Europeans to sell American securities developed in 1892.^ 
To what extent this was due to apprehensions in reference 
to our sinking reserve, to fears that we might adopt a silver 
standard, or to the general scramble for gold among the 
nations and the money stringency which characterized 
business rather genrally at the time, is an open question. 
It might be mentioned in this connection that all the im- 
portant commercial countries of Europe had by this time 
actually or virtually demonetized silver, some of them throw- 
ing considerable quantities of it out of circulation, and at 
the same time increasing the demand for gold for coinage 
or reserve purposes." In 1892 Austria-Hungary decided 
to resume specie payments and went into the markets of 
the world to obtain a gold reserve to this end. Russia was 
at the same time collecting a great store of gold for a purpose 
then unknown.^ Yet the world's output of the yellow 
metal had fallen off from 64 million ounces during the fifties 

'Mitchell, pp. 46-62; Dewey, pp. 255-256; Lauck, chs. iii-vi. 
*Ibid. The mints of India were closed to silver in June, 1893. 
'Ibid. 



1 64 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [164 

to 61 million during the sixties, 56 million during the seven- 
ties, and 51 million during the eighties/ Thus the supply 
was not increasing in proportion to the demand. 

Whatever the cause for the unusually great outflow of 
gold from this country in 1892 and '93, the result was in- 
creasing embarrassment in business and government circles. 
To meet the demands upon them, bankers drew upon the gov- 
ernment reserve by presenting paper for redemption. Har- 
rison had persuaded some of them to accept paper in lieu of 
gold when the latter was not especially needed, and thus 
had been able to keep the reserve from falling far below the 
danger point in the last months of his administration. 
Cleveland followed the same policy for a few months, but 
with declining success. It was obvious that unless there 
were some turn of affairs it would soon become necessary 
for the government to redeem its paper in silver.^ 

This, according to the silverites, was the logical thing to 
do. The world's supply of gold was clearly inadequate, 
they said, to maintain the single standard. As the pre- 
cious metal grew dearer in proportion to other commodities, 
prices kept falling and debts appreciating. The hardships 
thus entailed upon the great mass of debt-ridden producers 
and the advantages afforded to capitalists were outrageously 
unfair, they thought. There was nothing particularly 
sacred about gold. It was said to be desirable as a standard 
because of its stability of value. But was its value stable? 
Any commodity would be stable if measured in terms of 
itself. If gold were measured in terms of commodities 
it would show an enormous rise in value in their generation. 
And that rise represented a colossal legal robbery of the poor 
by the rich. If the remonetization of silver should afford an 
era of cheaper money; instead of being dishonest, as the 

' U. S. Stat. Abs., 1903, p. 52. 

■Mitchell, pp. 46-62, 278-322; Dewey, pp. 232-261. 



165] "THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" 165 

gold-bugs pharisaically shouted, it would be just recompense. 
Most of the silverites believed that both metals could be kept 
in circulation on the basis of the old ratio. If silver w^ere 
no longer in a " begging " position, and the surplus of it were 
drunk up by the mints its relative value would increase; if 
the strain upon the gold supply were relaxed, and the psychic 
effect of the government preference for it done away, its 
relative value would decline. The fiat of the government 
would make all dollars dollars. If, however, Gresham's law" 
should operate and gold should become a mere commodity 
bought and sold like diamonds, was it any better to be- 
come a commodity than silver? There was little of it in 
circulation among the people anyway. Its real place in the 
financial scheme at the time was to measure values; and if 
it had proved to be a bad measure, either supplement it or 
let it go.^ 

Cleveland saw matters in a different light. He had the 
view of the business men and the conservative economists. 
To his mind too much had already been done for silver. 
The purchase clause of the Sherman Law and the agitation 
for unlimited coinage were the fundamental causes of the 
country^s troubles. Repeal the one and silence the other, 
or at least convince the business world that there would be 
no dallying with the standard ; confidence would then be re- 
stored and prosperity would return. Hence just as the 
panic cloud was bursting he called an extra session of Con- 
gress to convene in August to repeal the purchase clause.^ 

There was considerable doubt for a time as to whether 
Congress would accept the President's advice in the matter 

'W. J. Bryan, The First Battle, passim, esp. pp. 8095; Hepburn, chs. 
xv-xx; Peck, pp. 339-34S; Constitution and People's Party Paper, 1893, 
esp. Aug.-Oct. 

'See Cleveland's second inaugural address and his message to 'Congress 
in extraordinary session, in J. D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of 
the Presidents, pp. 5821, 5833. 



l66 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [i66 

of repeal without enacting a substitute measure providing 
for "inflation" in some form. The summer months were 
marked by an acute " currency famine." Ai week before 
Congress met, the savings banks announced that depositors 
would not be permitted to draw money except on sixty days' 
notice. Other banks refused to pay out currency except 
under extreme circumstances. It soon became almost impos- 
sible for the ordinary person to get a cheque cashed, even 
at his own bank. He was told that he had made his 
deposits by cheques in most cases, and he must now employ 
the same medium for purposes of exchange. He was 
granted a certified cheque if he wished it, or else clearing- 
house certificates.'^ Actual currency was at a premium 
ranging from }^ to 3 per cent. " The money-brokers, who 
had foreseen the action of the banks, had for several days 
been quietly accumulating a stock of cash; and they now 
proceeded to cash the certified cheques at the discount men- 
tioned. An enormous business of this sort was done." By 
the middle of August such transactions are said to have ag- 
gregated $1,000,000 daily. " A well-known brokerage firm 
near the head of Wall Street bought currency at a premium 
of Yz of one per cent and sold it at a premium of 3 per 
cent. Great bundles of paper money were stacked up be- 
hind the counters." Even government cheques drawn in 
payment of pensions were not accepted at face value. 
" Oddly enough, silver was now taken as readily as gold, 
while paper money was preferred to either. On August 
5th, a firm of money-brokers advertised for silver dollars, 
offering a premium of $7.50 per thousand." ^ Under these 
circimistances it was difficult to persuade the " inflationists " 

'Mitchell, p. 56; Dewey, pp. 260-261; Hepburn, pp. 251-252; Peck, 
pp. 335-339- 

'Quotations from Peck, pp. 336-3139. iSee also Dewey, pp. 260-262; 
Mitchell, p. 56; Hepburn, pp. 351-352; Lauck, ch. vii. 



167] "THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" 167 

to approve the repeal of the purchase clause, and thereby; 
eliminate from the currency the forty-odd million dollars 
annually issued under it, without providing some other 
means of increasing the circulation. To their minds, un- 
conditional repeal would mean placing the country all the 
more completely in the power of the " Shylocks." Various 
substitute measures were proposed, such as free coinage of 
silver at the legal ratio of 16:1, free coinage at a higher 
ratio, or repeal of the law which imposed a prohibitory- 
tax of ten per cent on state-bank notes.'- But Cleveland 
called for immediate repeal and clearly implied that he con- 
sidered it no time to consider compromise. Thus Demo- 
cratic Congressmen and Senators from pro-silver communi- 
ties of the South and West were in a quandary. Should 
they obey their leader and risk the wrath of their constitu- 
ents, or disobey and widen the breach in their party ? 

In Georgia the Democratic press became very uneasy. At 
first the silver organs were inclined to praise the gallant 
fight being made under the leadership of " Silver Dick " 
Bland of Missouri, aided by the eloquent young Bryan, in 
behalf of free coinage. But as it became more apparent 
that all amendments were likely to be lost in the House, 
some papers began to prepare their readers for such an out- 
come : they suggested that it might be wiser in the existing 
emergency to hasten repeal, relieve the strain upon the 
treasury, and then take up the question of further legisla- 
L tion.^ "They're weakening: we told you they would!" 
\ said Watson. " On every stump in Georgia, the Demo- 
cratic orators said that their national platform meant free 
silver. Again we say, they are bound by the construction 
which they themselves put upon it." ° Two days before 

'Dewey, pp. 262-264; Georgia Press, Aug., 1893. 
' See, e. g., Constitution, Aug. 7-28, 1893. 
'People's Party Paper, Aug. 25, 1893. 



1 68 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [i68 

the vote was taken in the House, the Constitution announced 
that prominent men in the state had advised Governor 
Northen to call an extra session of the legislature to authorize 
state banks to issue circulating notes without regard for 
the federal law, which was believed to be unconstitutional. 
It was a desperate disease, and if Congress would offer no 
remedy the state must act. The governor did not think 
it wise to take such a step, however, — ^at least until Congress 
had acted.^ On August 28 the House rejected all amend- 
ments and passed the bill for unconditional repeal by votes 
that badly mutilated party lines. The representatives from 
Georgia voted seven to three for unlimited-coinage amend- 
ments, and when these were lost voted six to four for re- 
peal.^ In close proximity to these events came a series of 
by-elections in several counties which were very discon- 
certing to the Democracy of the state. In every case a safe 
Democratic majority of the year before was turned into a 
Populist victory. Democratic leaders held a council of war, 
as a result of which Governor Northen on September 15 
addressed the following letter to Preskident Cleveland : ° 

Mr. President: Profoundly impressed with the unusual condi- 
tions in this State — ^political and financial — arising from the 
long-continued delay in helpful legislation by Congress, I re- 
spectfully but earnestly urge upon you the expediency of some 
public expression, somewhat more comprehensive than your 
recent message, as to the proper policy to be pursued by Con- 
gress upon questions affecting the stringency of the times and 
the needs of the people. 

The conditions of this State are fearful and threatening. 
The people have confidence in your ability and your leadership, 

^Constitution, Aug. 26, 1893. 

^Congressional Record, S3d Cong., ist Sess., pt. i, pp. 1003- 1008; 
McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1894, p. 155* 
'Carbon copy in Northen collection. 



169] "THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" 169 

and no one thing, in my candid judgment, would go so far 
towards restoring quiet as a clear statement made to the public 
by you. 

I agree with you fully in believing that : " It may be true 
that the embarrassments from which the business of the coun- 
try is suffering arise as much from evils apprehended as from 
those actually existing." The result of such apprehension with 
us begets a lack of confidence in the party in power, and we are 
rapidly losing strength in this State. Every election held in 
this State for the past three (3) months has gone against the 
Democratic party and in favor of the Populists. Ex-Congress- 
man Watson, the leader of the Populists, has taken advantage 
of the conditions, and is speaking over the State to assemblies 
never less than 2,000, and sometimes as many as 5,000 people. 
. . . [Here several of the election reversals are described.] 

Another reason calling for such a statement from you as 
I ask affects the sale of our farm products and our business 
relations. Our cotton is now ready for market. There is no 
sufficient money to handle it. Farmers are compelled to sell, 
and the price is necessarily reduced. The cotton must be 
given in settlement of obligations entered into during the early 
spring. If the stringency remains until these obligations are 
canceled, and business improves after the crops have been taken 
from the control of our farmers and fortunes are made by 
speculators upon the fruits of their labor, while their poverty 
continues, there can be no hope of holding them to the Demo- 
cratic party in the next election. If by any means conditions 
can be improved, and the farmers receive nine or ten cents for 
their cotton, the party will get the benefit of the advance, and 
the farmers will remain Democratic. 

I beg to assure you of my sympathy in the responsible 
position you hold before the people and the obligations put upon 
you by the political party whose leader you are. You have 
had my earnest advocacy and enthusiastic support from the 
beginning of the conflict, because I have had unquestioned con- 
fidence in your statesmanship and your courage. I write you 



170 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [170 

now because of what I know to be your power to aid us in this 
state in perpetuating good government as found in the prin- 
ciples of the Democratic party, and especially in relation to the 
distressed condition of an unsettled and oppressed people. 

I have written this letter after consultation with leading 
Democrats in this State, who agree with me in the views 
expressed. 

If you see fit to take the action suggested, I shall be gratified. 
If it is not consistent with your views, simply say so to me, and 
there shall be no public notice of this correspondence. 

A number of clippings from the press of the state were 
inclosed, which testified to the alarming growth of Popu- 
lism. A few days later came Qeveland's reply, as follows : '■ 

I hardly know how to reply to your letter of the 15th instant. 
It seems to me that I am quite plainly on record concerning 
the financial question. My letter accepting the nomination to 
the presidency, when read in connection with the message 
lately sent to Congress in extraordinary session, appears to 
me to be very explicit. 

I want a currency that is stable and safe in the hands of our 
people. I would not knowingly be implicated in a condition 
that will justly make me in the least degree answerable to any 
laborer or farmer in the United States for a shrinkage in the 
purchasing power of the dollar he has received for a full 
dollar's worth of the product of his toil. 

I not only want our currency to be of such a character that 
all kinds of dollars will be of equal purchasing power at home, 
but I want it to be of such a character as will demonstrate 
abroad our wisdom and good faith, thus placing upon a firm 
foundation our credit among the nations of the earth. 

I want our financial conditions and the laws relating to our 
currency so safe and reassuring that those who have money 
will spend and invest it in business and new enterprise, instead 
of hoarding it. You cannot cure fright by calling it foolish 

'Original in Northen collection. 



171] " THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES " lyi 

and unreasonable, and you cannot prevent the fright«ied man 
from hoarding his money. 

I want good, sound and stable money, and a condition of 
confidence that will keep it in use. 

Within the limits of what I have written, I am a friend to 
silver, but I believe its proper place in our currency can only 
be fixed by a readjustment of our currency legislation, and 
the inauguration of a consistent and comprehensive financial 
scheme. I think such a thing can only be entered upon profit- 
ably and hopefully after the repeal of the law which is charged 
with all our financial woes. In the present state of the public 
mind this can not be built upon, nor patched in such a way as 
to relieve the situation. 

I am therefore opposed to the free and unlimited coinage 
of silver by this country alone and independently; and I am 
in favor of the immediate and unconditional repeal of the pur- 
chasing clause of the so-called Sherman law. 

I confess I am astonished by the opposition in the Senate 
to such prompt action as would relieve the present unfortunate 
situation. My daily prayer is that the delay occasioned by 
such opposition may not be the cause of plunging the country 
into deeper depression than it has yet known, and that the 
Democratic party may justly be held responsible for such a 
catastrophe. 

Governor Northen's letter was never published. He sent 
a copy of it to Qark Howell, of the Constitution, authoriz- 
ing him to print a S)mopsis of it, along with Cleveland's 
reply. This was done. Referring to his own letter, 
Northen said, " It is based upon facts that, whilst they are 
facts, I fear would be hurtful to the general good of the 
party if they should be published." ^ The feature editorial 
in the next issue of the People's Party Paper was entitled 
"Blind Staggers." This disease, once confined to horses, 
had now siezed upon " the dear old Democracy . . . .Don't 

'Carbon copy in Northen collection. 



172 THE POPULtST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [172 

laugh at the patient. He didn't go to do it. Last summer 
he forgot there was any hereafter in politics. He fused with 
everybody he could dupe. He promised different things to 
different sections. He read his platform to suit the listener 
.... Now pay day has come! " He staggers. He talks. 
" Some of his talk gets into the papers. Some of it does 
not. Cleveland's letter to Northen goes all over America 
and does not rest its heavy feet till it reaches London. But 
no man knoweth what Billy said to Grover." The Journal 
was in full accord with Cleveland.^ The Constitution 
thought he was " trifling with the people." ^ 

The question of repeal was taken up in the Senate. 7\lso 
the question of a substitute measure. The silver forces were 
stronger there than in the House, but they were unable to 
marshal a majority for unlimited coinage, or even for a 
compromise, in the face of the President's opposition. They 
were able, however, to maintain one of the longest filibusters 
in history, lasting until October 30. It was finally broken, 
and the House bill passed, apparently by concessions from 
Cleveland in reference to the patronage. Including those 
who were paired, the Democratic Senators were evenly 
balanced. The Republicans, though divided, afforded the 
necessary majority. Gordon and Colquitt were paired, the 
former favoring and the latter opposing unconditional re- 
peal.' 

The results of repeal did not fulfill the expectations of 
the President. Business remained prostrate, prices con- 
tinued to fall, and the gold reserve kept sinking until by the 
end of the year it was below seventy million.* Against this 

^People's Party Paper, Oct. 6, 1893. 

2 See Giles, Aug.-Oct., 1893. Quotation from Constitution, Oct. 24. 
'Congres. Record, Sard Cong., ist Sess., pt. ii, pp. 2928-2958; Peck, 
PP- 345-349- 
*Lauck, p. 93. 



173] " ^^^ HEAR T-BREAKING NINE TIES " 1 73 

fund were $346,cxx),ooo worth of " greenbacks," redeem- 
able by law in gold. There were also about $I50,CX)0,000 
worth of silver certificates, redeemable in " coin," either 
silver or gold; but the administration still thought that, to 
maintain the soundness of our financial system and the faith 
of the people in the government, gold should be offered as 
long as there was any to offer. As notes were redeemed 
they were re-issued, as required by law, and thrown back 
into circulation; whence they might return for redemption 
again : thus the " endless chain." ^ Meanwhile the Treas- 
ury was bursting with silver dollars, which had been as 
eagerly sought during the money famine as any others. 
The silverites thought it criminal that these were not thrown 
into circulation. Conservatives, on the other hand, wished 
Congress to authorize the Treasury to retire the govern- 
ment notes as they were brought in for redemption, but 
the " People's " representatives did not dare further to con- 
tract an already inadequate currency in the face of the 
popular clamor. ° 

Cleveland's position became pathetic. In January, 1894, 
the pressure upon the Treasury developed into a " raid." 
Silverites thought the bankers were seeking to force the 
permanent retirement of government notes, or else to force 
a sale of bonds to replenish the gold supply; and perhaps to 
frighten the Democracy away from its program of tariff 
reform, lest it further increase the embarrassment by cur- 
tailing the government's income.' Without asking specific 
authorization from Congress, the President on January 17, 
directed an issue of $50,000,000 in bonds to be sold for 

'See Cleveland's message to extraordinary session, op. cit. 
•Bryan, op. cit., Peck, pp. 341-346, 391-392. 

•Dewey, pp. 266-274; People's Party Paper, Jan. 26, Feb. 2, et seq., 
1894- 



174 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [174 

gold.'- Had the plan worked as he expected it to work, the 
reserve would have been placed in safety. But the bankers 
brought in sufficient paper for redemption to draw out as 
much gold as the bonds yielded, and by summer the reserve 
was down to fifty million. In November bonds were issued 
again, but their yield met with a similar fate. Here was 
another " endless chain." By February, 1895, the reserve 
was down to forty-one million. In desperation, Cleveland 
made an appeal to Belmont and Morgan to take another 
issue of bonds, under contract that they would obtain at 
least half the gold abroad and would exert their influence 
to prevent any of it from being drawn from the Treasury. 
There was better success this time.^ 

These events " stirred millions of Americans to a pitch 
of acrimonious frenzy for which there are few parallels 
in our history." ^ That Cleveland was either woefully 
stupid or viciously corrupt, if not both, became the settled 
conviction of thousands in his own party. He was said to 
have " sold out to the ruthless exploiters of a suffering 
people." The unprintable epithets applied to him in the 
South and West were almost as common among Democrats 
as among Populists.* In the sober light of history one is 
inclined to exonerate him from moral culpability. In a 
very trying situation, he acted, no doubt, according to his 
own best judgment, but he saw the question from one angle 
only. He would not be " answerable to any laborer or 
farmer .... for a shrinkage in the purchasing power of 
the dollar; " ° but he did not seem to realize that some one 

'The administration had asked Congress for such majority; and 
failing to receive a favorable response, it had acted under a clause of 
the resumption act of 1875, See Dewey, p. 267. 

' Dewey, pp. 268-274. 

"Peck, p. 389. 

*Ibid.; Georgia press, 1894. 

' See letter to Northen, supra. 



175] "THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" 175 

was answerable for an accelerating inflation of obligations, 
and that the " honest-money " system was bringing loss to 
those who were least able to lose, and gain to those who had 
held the places of advantage for a generation. Exactly 
what would have been the results if he had accepted the 
advice of the silverites, no one can say. The adoption of a 
silver standard would doubtless have brought a great shock 
to business. But if the gold-hungry world had not soon 
been relieved by the discovery of new supplies of the pre- 
cious metal, some kind of radical change in our currency 
system might have been forced upon us. 

The stakes were large, and each class and section was 
inclined to play for its own advantage. As the powerful 
financial interests were joined by many of the lesser capital- 
ists, especially in the East, so the debt-burdened farmers of 
the South and West were allied to the great silver interests of 
the Far West. Urban labor was in doubt as to which way 
to turn.^ " Inflation " would bring higher prices, perhaps 
without a corresponding increase in wages; but depression 
had brought unemployment to them, and greater relative 
strength to employers. As the hard times continued, the 
sectional cleavage became sharper. Agrarian adversity 
reacted distressingly upon merchants and other business 
men in the South and West. Unless something could be 
done to relieve the situation, these were likely to join with 
the farmers against the Eastern wing in a struggle for 
definite control of the Democratic party. 

With the purchase clause out of the way, and the country 
assured that no further concessions that might endanger the 
gold standard were likely to be made, at least for a time, 

'The American Federation of Labor was inclined to favor free silver, 
as was the Knights of Labor. Many local unions supported the People's 
Party; but representatives of the Federation, in conference with the 
Knights in 1894, declined to go on record as favoring official endorse- 
ment of that party. See Commons, vol. ii, pp. 511-514. 



176 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [176 

Qeveland was able to turn his attention to tariflf reform. 
This was the main feature of his constructive program. The 
high protective tariff was undoubtedly one reason why our 
markets were being glutted with our own goods, why prices 
were falling, industries closing down, revenues declining, 
why gold was flowing out of the country, and the surplus 
sinking. But the fall in prices abroad and the depression in 
business in other industrial countries indicate that it was not 
the only reason. A sane revision of the tariff, however, 
probably would have helped materially. To this the De- 
mocratic platform had solemnly pledged the party. A bill 
providing for duties about as high on an average as those 
in force before the introduction of the McKinley Act was 
passed by the House on February i, 1894. Under the pres- 
sure of Populistic elements, provision was made for an in- 
come tax to compensate for the anticipated loss in customs 
receipts. The measure was far from a free-trade document 
when it left the House, and when the spokesmen for special 
interests had had their say in the Senate it was little better 
than the act it was designed to supplant. Cleveland was so 
disappointed that he refused to sign it, permitting it to be- 
come a law without his signature.^ 

In the meantime the widespread sufifering among in- 
dustrial laborers had given rise to a series of threatening dis- 
turbances. Hundreds of thousands of able-bodied men were 
out of work through no fault of their own, and many in 
desperation became tramps, beggars, or thieves. Large 
numbers were stranded in abandoned railway-construction 
camps and other collapsing enterprises far away from their 
former abodes in the East. As these began to tramp their 
way across the coupntry they congregated in battalions in 
various towns. It was this situation which produced the 

'Peck, pp. 353-372; Dewey, ch. xvii. 



177] "THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" 177 

famous " Coxey's Army." Various groups came under the 
leadership of " generals," the most conspicuous of whom 
was J. S. Coxey. In December, 1893, he had launched a 
movement to demand of Congress the inauguration of a 
system of public improvements to provide work for the 
unemployed, meeting the expenses of the project by an issue 
of half a billion dollars of fiat paper money. The follow- 
ing spring he assumed command of the " army," and directed 
its feet toward Washington with a view to urging this de- 
mand. At first the march was regarded by the press as a 
huge joke, but it came to arouse considerable apprehension 
when it appeared that along with the mass of honest and 
peaceful unfortunates were some who were inclined to law- 
lessness. When the motley throng appeared on the capitol 
grounds, the government authorities saw no better solution 
than to have them dispersed by the police and a number of 
them jailed for treading on the grass.^ 

A few days after the collapse of this movement, the fam- 
ous Pullman strike bagan. The Pullman Palace Car Com- 
pany, which was paternalistic and autocratic in dealing with 
employees, had dismissed a large number of workmen, and 
lowered the wages of others about 20 per cent. A com- 
mittee appealed to the president of the company for a res- 
toration of the old wages. It was rebuffed and three of 
its members were discharged from work. A strike followed. 
As some 4000 of the Pullman employees were members of 
the American Railway Union, which included about 100,000 
trainmen, the union declared a boycott against the Pullman 
cars. This resulted in a sympathetic strike among train- 
men which for a time almost paralyzed transportation in the 
greater part of the county. The situation seemed promis- 

1 Jacob S. Coxey, Coxey: His Own Story of the Commonweal, 
Massilon, Ohio, 1914 (pamphlet). Also Peck, pp. 373-375; E. Benjamin 
Andrews, The United States in Our Own Times, pp. 719-722. 



178 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [178 

ing for the strikers until a group of men in Chicago, the 
center of the trouble, interfered with a " scab-run " train 
carrying the United States mail. Prior to this time troops 
had not been employed. Governor Altgeld of Illinois, who 
was in sympathy with labor, insisted that they were not 
needed. But now that the mail service had been involved. 
President Cleveland ordered federal troops to the scene and 
issued a proclamation demanding the immediate dispersal 
of all " unlawful " gatherings. Then, for the first time in 
our history, the " blanket " injunction was employed against 
strikers. Under it men were imprisoned by court martial 
for disobeying the order of a judge. The strike was broken. 
Thousands of people throughout the country came to feel 
that all branches of the government were in the hands of 
the " plutocrats," a feeling which was greatly intensified a 
year later when the Supreme Court declared the income tax 
unconstitutional. Populism was given renewed strength.^ 
The failure of the Democratic Congress to provide ade- 
quate measures of relief for the distressful conditions in the 
country or to live up to the campaign pledges of the party 
was strongly reacting, as we have seen, against the Democ- 
racy. " Two years ago," said Watson in the opening 
speech of the Populist convention in Georgia, " we were fed 
upon the ambrosia of Democratic expectations. Today we 
are gnawing the cobs of Democratic reality." ^ As editor 
of the People's Party Paper, chairman of the Populist state 
executive committee, and recognized leader of his party, he 
conducted a campaign which surpassed in vigor and ex- 
citement that of 1892. The Democracy was given no rest 
from one campaign to the next. A relentless searchlight 
was turned upon the records of Congressmen, Senators, 
legislators, and even minor office-holders. Watson was 

'Andrews, pp. 722^735. 

* Constitution, May 17, 1894. 



179] "THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" 179 

supported by a growing body of leaders many of whom were 
V almost as vigorous and politically gifted as their chief. His 
paper had satellites in nearly half the counties of the state. 
Thus from stump and press a discontented electorate was 
constantly reminded of the short-comings — real and ap- 
parent — of their chosen representatives. Called into ques- 
tion, the radicals often documented their assertions with ex- 
cerpts from the Congressional Record and other government 
publications. Speeches and votes in Congress were often 
presented in full in the Populist press with editorial em- 
phasis upon the divisions and inconsistencies in the old par- 
ties, especially as they appeared among the representatives 
from Georgia. 

Senator Gordon was among those most rigorously 
watched and mercilessly satirized, the main object being to 
combat the old-soldier-simon-pure arguments of the De- 
mocrats. As early as September 8, 1893, it was reported 
in the Populist press that he had had a conference with 
Qeveland; that in the name of party harmony and for the 
sake of the Georgia patronage, he had agreed to lend his in- 
fluence in favor of unconditional repeal. Along with thisi 
report went the following commentary : ^ 

No man has played the old-soldier game to more purpose 
than John B. Gordon. Ever since the war he has been claiming 
high office on account of his military service. . . . Maimed 
and ragged ex-Confederates have followed him with a devotion 
which was pitiable in its blindness. . . . [When seeking the 
Senatorship in 1890] he endorsed every plank of the Alliance 
platform except the sub-treasury, and is a sworn member of 
the Georgia Alliance; but he has done in Washington just 
what his previous record (to those who knew it) promised. 
. . . Honest people are growing sick and tired of men who 
speak upon one side and vote upon the other. 

^People's Party Paper, Sep. 8, 1893. 



l8o THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [i8o 

Gordon accepted the admttiistration view that it was wiser 
first to repeal the obnoxious law and then to consider 
further legislation. The opposition held that by this policy 
the professed silverites threw away their bargaining power, 
and that those who followed such a course in the face of 
pledges to stand for unlimited coinage could not rightly de- 
fend their broken promises on the ground of expediency. 
The.three Congressmen who voted against the silver amend- 
ments and the six who finally supported the original bill 
for unconditional repeal found it extremely difficult to ap- 
pease their restless constituents. 

As the Senate filibuster was nearing an end, the Georgia 
legislature assembled. " Governor Northen's message to 
that body," said the People's Party Paper, " dealt largely 
with the federal tariff system. The legislature is some- 
what puzzled to know how they are to tackle that question. 
In the meantime, they have tackled the cigarette nuisance 
.... Would that the legislature would deal with three or 
four matters which it really can settle : ^ 

1st. Give us a state income tax, for the benefit of the public 
schools, so as to perfect that most imperfect system. 

2nd. Abolish our infamous convict lease system, and put 
the convicts on the public roads and bridges. 

3rd. Give us an election law which will insure honest elections. 

(To these the Populist state convention added) : * 

4th. Free primary school books, and the payment of teach- 
ers' salaries monthly (instead of irregular payments, delayed 
sometimes for almost a year). 

5th. A movement to stop the granting of railroad passes to 
public officers. 

7th. Introduction of the Australian ballot system. 

If the Democratic legislature had inaugurated a thorough- 

• People's Party Paper, Nov. 3, 1^3. 

* Constitution, May 18; People's Party Paper, June 2, 1893. 



l8l] "THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" i8l 

going program of reform alonj^the lines demanded byl 
Populists and sanctioned by a large element in the old 
party, it might have largely offset the unhappy 'record of 
Congress and made it less necessary to resort j;p unfair 
means to carry the approaching election. A number of bills 
of that kind were introduced, but few were passed. Per- 
haps the most important measure, from this viewpoint, that 
was enacted was one making it a felony for a director or 
other official of a railroad company to seek, himself, or to 
conspire with others, to bring about the wreckage of such 
company. This practice had become common, and involved 
some of the largest roads in the state. Another act was di- 
rected against the larceny or destruction of election returns, 
ballot boxes, etc. ProArision was made whereby indigent 
Confederate veterans, formerly aided only in the Old 
Soldiers' Home, might receive outdoor relief in the form 
of state pensions.^ 

The state Democratic platform declared : " We demand 
the immediate passage of such legislation as will restore 
silver to its constitutional position as a money metal, and 
will secure at once the free and unlimited coinage of gold 
and silver on a parity and give every dollar in circulation 
the same debt-paying and purchasing power." It also 
called for a tariff for revenue only, and for repeal of the ten 
per cent tax on the issues of state banks. In local matters, 
it advocated the maintenance of the system of public schools, 
" increasing appropriations as far as business conditions 
permit ;" declared the adherence of the party to the principle 
of local self-government; and condemned lynch law. 
Finally, it denounced " the socialistic, paternalistic, and cen- 
tralizing ideas now sought to be propagated in our midst, 
as dangerous and destructive heresies, which if successful 
would dethrone liberty and enslave the people." ^ 

'Ga. Laws, 1892, pp. iii, 113, 124. See also Knight, vol. ii, pp. 985-986. 
' Constitution, Aug. 3, 1894. 



l82 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IM GEORGIA [182 

In seeking a standard bearer in the gubematorial race, 
a number of the Democratic leaders were at first incUned to 
support General Clement A. Evans. A brigadier-general in 
the Civil War, he was a preacher by profession, and had 
served for a time in the state senate. He was a man of 
lofty ideals and keen sensibilities, but " knew nothing of the 
game of politics, and was not at home on the hustings." ^ 
Although he was widely supported at first by the Democratic 
press, even by such rival organs as the Journal and the 
Constitution, there soon developed a feeling among some 
of the politicians that he was not a suitable man to conduct 
the kind of campaign that was necessary to insure Demo- 
cratic success. Hence early in January, 1894, W. Y. 
Atkinson, one of the younger leaders, then speaker of the 
house and chairman of the state executive committee, an- 
nounced himself as a candidate subject to the Democratic 
primary. A series of debates was arranged. In these the 
issues failed to clash, but Atkinson showed himself much 
more gifted in the arts that bring applause. Evans soon 
retired from the race." 

The Populists nominated Judge James K. Hines, who had 
been one of the opposition candidates for the United States, 
Senatorship in 1890. Judge Hines had risen rapidly from 
a small-town lawyer to an important member of the Atlanta 
bar. He had been an advocate of Alliance-Populist prin- 
ciples since the beginning of the movement. Endowed with 
a personality that commanded respect, he conducted " a clean 
and effective campaign." " 

In the Congressional races, while Watson's district, " the 

' Knight, vol. ii, p. 987. See also Constitution and Journal, Dec, 1893- 
Jan., 1894. 

'Constitution and Journal, Jan.-Mar., 1894, esp. Mar. 22-23; also 
Knight, vol. ii, p. 987. 

' Constitution, May 18, Aug. S, 29, 1894 ; Knight, vol. v, 2488. 



183] "THE HEART-BREAKING NINETIES" 183 

terrible tenth," was the greatest storm center, others were 
not far behind. Felton's " bloody seventh " was a close 
second. The battle-scarred veteran of Independency was 
again in the race for Congress. Now that the sub-treasury, 
to which he had objected, was no longer an issue; that the 
national Democracy had " betrayed " free silver and tariff 
reform; and that the radical movement, since 1890, had 
broken all connection with " the ring; " he had become one 
of the most ardent of Populists. In the fifth, Livingston 
fought valiantly against charges of apostasy. Even Crisp, 
who was still speaker of the national House, was not without 
bitter opposition.^ 

The throngs that flocked to the numerous " rallies " had 
long since overflowed the largest available halls, and had 
taken possesion of the court-house squares, parks, or picinc 
grounds. They were no longer stirred as they once had 
been with paneg)Tics of past glories, but were inclined to 
hold the speakers to the issues of the hour and current 
records of parties and politicians.' 

The election was the most exciting as well as the most de- 
grading since the overthrow of the " carpet-bag " govern- 
ment. The methods employed in 1892 were repeated on a 
grander scale. The negroes again held the balance of 
power, each party seeking their votes while at the same time 
denouncing the other for catering to them. In many cases 
bargains were first made with their leaders ; many " darkies " 
were then attracted to the all-night revelries held on the eve 
of the election; and the next morning they were paid the 
usual price of a dollar apiece for their votes, and marched 
to the polls under guard. Repeating and ballot-box " stuf- 
fing " were, apparently, common. In addition, all kinds 
of irregularities seem to have been practiced in coimting 

^ Felton, pp. 654-677. See also Georgia press, July-Nov., 1894. 
^Ibid. 



l84 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [184 

ballots and consolidating returns. Numerous precincts 
were thrown out on technicalities. Fearing legal contests, 
the victors in a number of cases hid or destroyed the ballot 
boxes. " We had to do it ! " declared a veteran office- 
holder. " Those d Populists would have ruined the 

country ! " ^ 

On the face of the returns, the Populists polled 44.5 per 
cent of the vote in the state election, carried 46 out of 137 
counties, elected 5 state senators and 47 representatives. 
They lost all the Congressional contests. In the country at 
large, they polled 1,471,590 votes, elected six United States 
Senators, seven Congressmen, 153 state senators, and 315 
representatives. The Democrats lost control of both houses 
of Congress, the Republicans gained a large majority in the 
lower house and a plurality in the Senate, with the Pop- 
ulists holding the balance of power in the latter.'' 

The shocking methods to which the politicians had re- 
sorted stimulated a loud protest in Georgia, not only from 
the Populists but from thousands of loyal Democrats. 
Some of the strongest dailies declared the election a reproach 
to the state.' Evidently such practices could not continue 
indefinitely. The national Democracy must be won to the 
cardinal Populistic principles and the state organization 
further regenerated ; else the Solid South might not survive 
the campaign of 1896. 

'This statement was made to the writer by a prominent Democrat 
in Sylvania, Ga. Scores of prominent men representing both sides, in 
various sections of the state, have testified in personal interviews to the 
prevalence of these practices. See Felton, pp. 654-677 (account is 
obviously biased, but includes published statements of prominent Demo- 
crats as well as Populists. See also Constitution, Nov. 9, 1894; People's 
Party Paper, Oct.-Nov., 1894. 

'Ga. House Journal, 1894, pp. 47-48; McVey in Economic Studies, 
vol. i, p. 197. 

'See, e. g., Constitution, Nov. 11, 1894; Felton, op. cit. 



WHO WERE THE POPULISTS ? 



Distribution of the Populist vote in Georgia 
by counties in the slate election of 1894 



Distribution of urban population by counties 
(1900), and location of important towns 



MgnatK 




Less than 20 JdlH 4&-fiO %sa 
20-36 %E3 60-60 ^BS 
36-46 ;SS 60-70 J(RII Onr 70 % 



in inoorporated plaoea_C^2 
Orer 60 jb " " mm 



Distribution of negro population by coun- 
ties — Census of 1900 



Average size of farm proprietorships — igoj- 
(Banks, p. 135.) 




Less than 20 ^CU 46-60 %e 
20-3S flE3 60-60 COI 
36-46 im 60-70 %m over TO )(■ 




lees than 100 A.CU ££0-260 [□{ 
100-176 " nSI £60-3£e oa 
176-££0 " ^ 3£6-400gB OTer 4Q0 A. 



Note the contrasts between the first map and each of the others. It is obvious that the 
Populist vote was light as a rule in the cities and towns; and that it varied in the rural dis- 
tricts, to a considerable extent, in inverse proportion to ihe prevalence of the negroes and the 
large plantations. The chief exception to this was in Watson's district. 



CHAPTER VI 
The Party Revolution of 1896 

The capture of the national Democracy by the Popuhstic 
element would not be a simple task. It would involve the 
extraordinary and embarrassing procedure of a party in 
control of the Presidency and recently in full political power 
repudiating its own administration. Such a course would 
tend to alienate many of the strongest leaders and perhaps 
a third of the usual followers. The densely populated East 
would doubtless be lost entirely, and with it such representa- 
tives of wealth and power as had supported the Qeveland 
Democracy. Besides, even in the South, and to some ex- 
tent in the West, there were elements still powerful in party 
councils who would bitterly oppose such a move. 

The fight made by these elements in the South during the 
year or two preceding the party revolution does not seem 
to have been fully appreciated by historians. As late as the 
summer of 1895 the majority of the Democratic dailies in 
Georgia and fully half the small-town weeklies still defended 
Qeveland and were at this time outspoken for the gold 
standard.^ These were in the main the same organs that 
had opposed the Alliance movement in i8go. Next to the 
Constitution, they included the three strongest papers in the 
state — the Atlanta Journal, the Savannah Morning News, 
and the Macon Telegraph. Hoke Smith, proprietor of the 
Journal and a member of Cleveland's cabinet, was still the 

' See poll of Georgia press in Constitution, Aug. 12, 1895. 
185] 185 



l86 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [i86 

leader of the administration forces in the state. Though not a 
candidate for office, he conducted a strenuous campaign for 
the gold standard through the columns of his paper and 
finally on the stump.^ A few months before the national 
conventions met he engaged in a series of joint debates in 
Augusta, Atlanta, and Macon with ex-Speaker Crisp.'' 
About the same time the Georgia Bankers' Association in 
convention assembled adopted unanimously a set of resolu- 
tions condemning inflationist heresies and solemnly warning 
the people and the politicians against them. They main- 
tained that the bankers had a greater knowledge of financial 
matters than other people, just as the doctors knew more 
about medicine and the farmers about farming, and certainly 
in this grave crisis the advice of experts should be taken.^ 
The conservative dailies presented the current arguments 
against the " free-silver craze " and other " diseases " in- 
fecting the body politic. Some of the weeklies seem to 
have accepted the generous offer of the William Street Re- 
form Qub by which they received each week without charge 
plates for one page of general news and one of " sound 
money " literature.* The pamphlet propaganda of the sil- 
verities was answered in kind. Never has there been such 
another " campaign of education " dealing with matters so 
recondite.^ Inconsistencies appeared among conservatives 
as well as radicals. Some of the " gold bugs " declared, 

^See files of Atlanta lournal, 189S-96. 

' Crisp was a candidate to succeed Gordon in the Senate. His leading 
opponent, DuBignon, was a "gold-bug." Crisp died in the summer of 
1896, shortly before the election. A. S. iClay, a silverite, was elected. 
For accounts of Crisp-Smith debates, see Constitution and Journal, 
Apr. 1-5. 

' New York Financier, June i, 1896. 

* Constitution, July 20, 1895. 

' The press was flooded with advertisements of such literature. 



187] THE PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 187 

for example, that the six hundred million dollars in gold 
coin and certificates said to be in circulation would be driven 
into hiding under the operation of Gresham's law if free 
silver were adopted, so that there would be a further decline 
of prices and appreciation of dollars.^ Others held that the 
purchasing power of money would be cut in half; the 
United States would become the dumping ground for the 
world's oversupply of silver, and soon there would be no 
gold left in the country with which to pay foreign balances. 
A depreciating dollar would be dishonest; an appreciating 
one was unfortunate, but there seemed to be no sound or 
safe remedy other than to stop the agitation for silver and 
restore confidence in the business world.^ On the political 
side, it was said that the Democrats had made a noble fight 
against the Populists, and that to adopt their principles now 
would be " a cowardly surrender." ' 

On the other hand it was evident that the great majority 
of the normally Democratic voters in the country were 
Populistically inclined, and that a very large percentage of 
these could not be held in the party except by a radical 
change in its leadership and policies. In fact it was al- 
together possible that if both the old parties remained con- 
servative or sought to straddle the issues again the De- 
mocrats would come out third in the race. Populism was 
at once a menace and a promise. Already the Bimetallic 
League and other pro-silver organizations were arousing 
immense enthusiasm for a union of all the silver forces in 
one party.* From the standpoint of political strategy, the 
Democratic politicians would have been stupid indeed not 

' Quotations from Hoke Smith in Constitution, Aug. i, 1895. 
'See Atlanta Journal, 1895-96, especially Apr. 1-5, i8g6. 
'Ibid.; also Morning News. 

* Constitution, July 16, 1895. See also Haynes, Third Party Move- 
ment, pp. 271-272. 



l88 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [i88 

to perceive the possibilities of embracing such a movement, 
especially in view of the fact that the Republicans were 
almost sure to gain the bulk of the conservative vote. 
In the West it would doubtless be an easy matter to arrange 
coalitions with dissenting groups. In several of the states 
of that section Democratic-Populist fusion had been the 
regular thing since the movement began. In some of them 
the Democrats and the radical agrarians had been chronic 
fusionists since the time of the Grangers. Leaders like 
Weaver had regularly advocated such a course. '^ In the 
South actual fusion might not be so easy. There the Popu- 
lists constituted the only effective party of opposition. 
They were engaged in a crusade against the local " oligar- 
chies " which meant almost if not quite as much to them 
as their national program. Fusion, many of them feared, 
would mean that they would largely lose whatever they had 
gained or hoped to gain in this fight. Then too, there was 
the matter of the spoils of office; Populist politicians were 
human. But whether a definite fusion with the People's 
Party were arranged or not, if the national Democracy came 
out squarely for unlimited coinage of silver and other re- 
forms and accepted the leadership of men whom the ad- 
vocates of such measures could trust to stand by them, it 
would probably have a better chance of success in the country 
at large, and certainly a much better one in the South, than 
if it continued to dodge and straddle and defend its record 
of the past four years. By " stealing the Populist thunder " 
the Southern Democracy would probably recall a sufficient 
portion of its straying flock to save the Solid South. It 
might also regain many of the " loaves and fishes " which 
had slipped from its hands in the past few years. And, 
what was more important still, it might be permanently rid 
of the " menace " of the People's Party. 

' Hajmes, Third Party Movements, and Weaver, passim. 



189] THE PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 189 

In July, 189s, the state Bimetallic League convened in 
Griffin with delegates from 104 out of 137 counties and 
proxies from others. The chief leaders and the great 
majority of the delegates were Democrats, but the Populists 
were invited and a considerable number of them attended. 
The conciliatory attitude of the Democrats toward these 
was significant. One ardent Democrat from Pike county, 
who evidently failed to appreciate the full purpose of the 
organization, raised an objection to admitting the prodigal 
sons, but he was quickly " squelched." Democratic speakers 
condemned the Cleveland administration almost as strongly 
as did the Populists. The convention called upon the people 
to spread the organization of the league into every com- 
munity and to bring pressure to bear upon politicians to 
heed the cries of the aggrieved masses. The order seems 
to have flourished and to have brought forth fruits. Among 
other things it demanded primaries for the selection of 
delegates to the state conventions which were to choose the 
delegations to the national ones. There was evidently a 
fear that the politicians if left to themselves might not 
register the will of the people.^ 

Various other organizations sprang up having more or 
less similar purposes. In some localities the Young Dem- 
ocrats were active. In the colleges both silver and gold 
clubs were organized and lively debates were staged. As 
the movement was becoming less distinctly agrarian, and 
as the hard times and political dissensions had greatly weak- 
ened the Farmers' Alliance, this order seems to have played 
little part in the campaign.^ 

Many of the Populist leaders, including Watson, frankly 
distrusted the fusion movement. Replying to a letter from 

^Constitution, July 16, 1895 and subsequent issues; People's Party 
Paper, July 26, 1895. 
•Files of Constitution and other papers, 1895^. 



^ 



igo THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [igo 

a Louisiana Populist asking his advice as to whether a local 
organization should accept a fusion proposition from the 
silver Democrats, Watson stated editorially in the People's 
Party Paper: ^ 

In our judgment Populists should keep in the middle of the 
road, should make no coalition with either old party, and 
should avoid fusion as they would the devil. To meet Demo- 
crats or Republicans, acting in their individual capacities, in a 
free-for-all mass meeting, where a principle upon which we 
all agree can be discussed, and where no man need be bound 
by any action which he disapproves, is one thing; to make a 
barter and a trade as Populists with the official managers of 
either of the old parties to swap a certain number of votes 
for a stipulated price in Democratic patronage or Republican 
spoils, is quite another thing 

This may be an honest transaction; lots of good men in 
Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and elsewhere have gone 
into it. . . . It seems to agree very well with the fellows who 
squat near the flesh pots. But our observation has been that 
the People's Party never grows a single vote after that flesh 
pot feast begins, . . . but wilts and dwindles away. 

We therefore advise our friend to meet and talk with all 
men — but to fuse with no enemy, compromise no principle, 
surrender no vital conviction. 

An editorial note in the same issue said of the fusion move- 
ment in Georgia. " The Alliance lamb agreed to lie down 
in the same pen with the Democratic lion. Result: Iambi 
soon dissolved in the gastric juice of said lion. Does the 
wily old trickster, Lon Livingston, think he can play that 
game on mj? " Of the convention of the Bimetallic League 
at Griffin, it was said : ^ 

'July 26, 1895. 
'Ibid. 



igi] THE PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 igi 

The Populists who were lured into the meeting went away with 
the dry grins. It was dinned into their ears that the meeting 
was a non-partisan aiFair, a meeting into which no politics 
would be admitted. This made the Populists feel good, but 
when the time came to make up committees, the Populists 
looked a little foolish, as not a member of their party appeared 
on the committee on program. ... It looks as if they might 
have struck some of the Populists by accident in appointing 
the committees. . . . 

But we are glad this convention was held ; glad our men went 
there; glad we showed a willingness to harmonize on prin- 
ciple ; glad the meeting failed through the greed and insincerity 
of professional wire-pullers and not through the fault of the 
Populists. 

The Populists made much of the " family rows " among 
the Democrats. The latter were classified into " gold-bugs," 
" silver bugs," " straddle-bugs," and " humbugs." The 
" straddle bugs " would " teach that the world is round or 
flat, as the majority of the school trustees might seem to 
desire." The " humbugs " would " make silver speeches 
and write silver letters previous to elections, and vote to 
stop silver coinage after the elections." In Cordele, Ga., 
the " gold-bugs " had arranged to have Hoke Smith address 
them ; the " silver-bugs " then sought to have Lon Living- 
ston speak there on the same day. A bitter quarrel ensued. 
" We note the fact with pleasure," wrote the editor of the 
People's Party Paper} Such quarrels, he thought, would 
emphasize in the public mind the futility of seeking radical 
reforms through the mongrel Democracy. This point was 
further emphasized a few months later by the following 
editorial in the same paper : " 

It is becoming more certain every day that the people have 

' July 26, 1895. 
*Ibid., Feb. 21, 1896. 



ig2 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [192 

nothing to hope from the free-silver Democrats. . . . Mr. 
Bartlett of Georgia was making a free silver speech in Congress 
the other day, and the following dialogue took place : 

Mr. Skinner [of North Carolina] : I should like to ask my 
friend from Georgia a question. ... If the Democratic party 
should adopt a gold-standard platform, and nominate a gold- 
standard candidate for President, will you vote for him? 

Mr. Bartlett [of Georgia] : I will vote for any man whom the 
majority of the delegates who may be sent by the masses of 
the Democratic party of this Union to Chicago shall select as 
our standard bearer, though I may differ with him. Applause. 

Mr. Skinner: Then you are willing to sacrifice the interests 
of your people upon the altar of your party. 

Mr. Bartlett: I am willing to forego temporarily my views 
and the consummation so devotedly hoped for, which must 
eventually come, and can only come through the Democratic 
party, in order to preserve the organization of that party. . . . 

What have Populists to hope [asked the editor] from such 
men as these? 

The first of the state conventions of 1896 in Georgia was 
that of the Republicans, on April 29. It was characterized 
as " a howling mob." About 600 delegates were present, 
some seven-eighths of whom were negroes. At the close of 
the meeting one of the reporters present declared he had no 
idea what had " ofificially " transpired. He was informed 
that " Boss " Buck had " officially " carried his McKinley 
slate, despite the fact that several chairmen were putting dif- 
ferent questions at the same time and shouting different re- 
sults against a deafening uproar.^ 

It may be remembered that McKinley had begun his pre- 
convention campaign at Thomasville, Ga., or, rather, that 
Mark Hanna had begun it there for him. Hanna had rented 
a house in Thomasville, in 1895 and had retired thither 

' Constitution, Apr. 30, 1896 ; People's Party Paper, May i, 1896. 



193] -^^^ PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 193 

" for his health." McKinley had joined him as a guest of 
honor soon afterward, and together they had entertained 
visitors from various parts of the South. The house party 
had proved a " great success." The support of Southern 
Republican " bosses " was assured. And the results of this 
preliminary work later proved an important factor in frus- 
trating the schemes of the anti-McKinley forces at the 
North, though not without further raids on Hanna's 
" money barrel." ^ 

Thanks to the work of this " Western Warwick," the 
nomination of McKinley was assured some time before the 
Republicans met. As to the platform, McKinley preferred 
that the money question be subordinated to the tariff. His 
own record in reference to the former had not been consis- 
tent. He had supported the Bland free-silver bill, and had 
helped to pass the Bland-Allison Act over the veto of Pre- 
sident Hayes. Many of his warmest supporters at this time 
were Western silverites, and he did not wish to estrange 
them if he could avoid it without hurting himself with the 
larger and more powerful conservative wing. On the tariff 
question his party was united. Himself one of the authors 
cf the Act which bore his name, he had consistently ad- 
vocated protection, and had made the arguments in support 
of it his chief stock-in-trade. But the prevailing opinion 
among leading Republicans was that the party must declare 
itself unreservedly for the gold standard. By this time it 
seemed certain that the Democratic convention would be con- 
trolled by the silver element, would adopt a silver plank and 
select a silver candidate. The issue could not well be evaded. 
Conservatives were anxious to have it settled, believing it 
would be settled " right " and the agitation quieted. Over- 
whelmingly predominating at the St. Louis convention, they 

1 Herbert Croly, Marcus Alomo Hanna, pp. 175-183. 



1^4 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [194 

adopted a plank definitely committing the party to the main- 
tenance of the gold standard, opposing free coinage of 
silver " except by international agreement with the leading 
commercial nations, which we pledge ourselves to promote." 
The Democratic party was held responsible for the hard 
times. Its policies had "precipitated panic, blighted industry 
and trade with prolonged depression, closed factories, re- 
duced work and wages, halted enterprise, and crippled 
American production while stimulating foreign production 
for the American market." The tariff plank was the most 
prominent. Protection was declared to be " the bulwark 
of American industrial independence and the foundation of 
American development and progress." There were demands 
for a vigorous foreign policy, generous pensions, a literacy 
test for immigrants, a free ballot and a fair count, a national 
board of arbitration for the settlement of disputes between 
employers and employees engaged in interstate commerce, 
and a free-homestead policy. The only plank to which, 
objection was raised was that on the currency. A substitute 
calling for unlimited coinage of silver was submitted by 
Senator Teller. It was rejected by a vote of 81 8j^ to 105J4, 
and the one submitted by the platform committee was ac- 
cepted by nearly as large majority. The silverites, led by 
Senator Teller, then withdrew from the convention.^ 

The Democratic conventions of thirty states had already 
endorsed free coinage, and only ten had declared for the 
gold standard.^ The vote in the Georgia convention was 
more than five to one for silver. The platform recom- 
mended by the latter condemned " the financial policies which 
necessitated the issuance of bonds," and called for the repeal 
of the law " clothing the Secretary of the Treasury with 

'Croly, chs. xiv, xv; Peck, ch. xi; Stanwood, pp. 532-538. 
^Peck, p. 491. 



195] ^-^^ PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 195 

the imperial power to issue bonds at pleasure," for repeal 
of the tax on state-bank issues, for a tariff for revenue 
only, and for a constitutional amendment providing for a; 
graduated income tax. It closed with an invitation to " all 
voters irrespective of party to join us in the fight to give 
relief to the people." ^ 

Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats went to their 
national convention leaderless. " The silverites will be in- 
vincible," wrote a correspondent of the New York World, 
" if united and harmonious; but they have neither machine 
nor boss. The opportunity is here; the man is lacking." '^ 
The national committee, still controlled by conservatives, 
submitted the name of Senator Hill of New York for the 
temporary chairmanship. One of the silverites nominated 
John W. Daniel of Virginia. The latter was elected by a 
vote of 556 to 349. The South and West were in the 
saddle. The platform specifically condemned every impor- 
tant policy of the Cleveland administration bearing on eco- 
nomic matters except the tariff and the income tax. It set 
forth a program which was remarkably similar to that whicli 
the Populists were developing. The discussion of the plat- 
form called forth various types of oratory from various- 
types of leaders. At the mention of Cleveland's name,. 
" Pitchfork " Ben Tillman of South Carolina burst into a 
tirade of abuse so furious that the audience recoiled. Senator; 
Hill, on the other hand, with cold defiance condemned the 
revolutionary spirit there manifest and presented the current 
arguments for the gold standard. He was preaching Islam 
to the armies of Peter the Hermit. The radical reaction 
thus stimulated made the moment opportune for the advent 
of the right man. He appeared. Little known prior to 
that time and scarcely thought of as a possible standard 

' Constitution, June 24, 26, 1896. 
• Peck, p. 492. 



1^6 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [196 

bearer, William Jennings Bryan then gave such eloquent and 
fitting expression to the feelings of that gathering as to 
place himself at once in command of the new Democracy. 
A striking personality, endowed with powers of oratory 
such as few men in our history have possessed, he stilled that 
turbulent audience into rapt attention, and plead with mar- 
velous effect " the cause of humanity " against those who 
would " crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." ^ 

If the nomination of Bryan was fortunate for the cause 
of fusion with other free-silver parties and factions, the 
choice of his running mate was unfortunate. Arthur 
Sewall, nominee for Vice-President, was a New England 
ship builder, railroad president, and national banker.^ His 
selection was doubtless inspired by a desire to counteract the 
charge of sectionalism and to save as much as possible of 
the moderate Democratic vote. But to many it looked like 
the time-old policy of " straddling " to nominate a national 
banker on a platform which called for the abolition of the 
system which he represented, and to choose a railroad presi- 
dent to help direct a movement for the restriction of his own 
interests. The Populists were not slow to appreciate this 
inconsistency. It played into the hands of the more radical 
element and made complete fusion impossible. 

A few weeks earlier, the Populist executive committee of 
Fulton county (embracing Atlanta) had agreed to defer 
action until after the meeting of the national Democracy. 
If the latter should " return to its old-time principles," said 
a member of that committee, and embrace the Populist cause, 
there would be no issue, and nothing for the Populists to 
do but return to the fold.^ Watson quickly dissented. The 
radicals had been " fooled " before. If they should go 

' Stanwood, pp. S41-SS0; Peck, pp. 490-505; Dewey, pp. 321-325. 
'^National Cyclopedia of American Biography, vol. x, p. 502. 
^Constitution, June 21, 1896. 



197] ^^^ PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1898 197 

back into the Democratic party now they would " return as 
the hog did to its wallow." ^ The anti-fusion, or " middle- 
of-the-road," faction controlled the state delegation to the 
national convention at St. Louis. W. L. Peek who headed 
the group wired to national headquarters, " Tell the boys I'm 
coming — lin the middle of the road." ^ 

As the vanguard began to appear in St. Louis about the 
twentieth of July, it was seen that the bulk of the Western- 
ers would favor fusion, while most of the Southerners 
would oppose it. Weaver was in charge of the Brj^n 
headquarters. A consistent advocate of fusion, he had de- 
clared that " nothing grows in the middle of the road." 
" We have constantly urged through good and evil report,", 
he said, " that our principles were more important than party 
associations, were above all considerations of private fortune 
or the petty and feverish ambitions of men." He thought 
that the Populists should say to the new Democracy, " We 
have been fighting for years for the principles which you 
incorporate in your Chicago platform, but there is no jeal- 
ousy; God bless you, we welcome you. Take the lead, and 
if you can plant the flag one foot nearer the citadel of plutoc- 
racy than we did, do it, and we will help you." ^ " Sock- 
less " Jerry Simpson was with him. " I care not for party 
names," said Simpson; " it is the substance we are after, and 
we have it in William J. Bryan." * Senator Peffer who had 
formerly opposed the fusion movement now declared, " No 
matter what they do here, the North-west is going to vote 
for Bryan."^ Senator Allen of Nebraska made a similar 

'^People's Party Paper, June 26; Atlanta Journal, July 10, 1896. 
' Constitution, July 21, 1896. 
'Haynes, Weaver, pp. 357-381. 
^Constitution, July 21, 1896. 
*Ihid., July 23, 1896. 



igS THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [198 

Statement/ On the other hand, the great majority of the 
Southern delegates went to St. Louis fully determined, it 
seems, to prevent any sort of compromise with the De- 
mocracy. The latter, according to Watson, had " found 
itself in a dying condition," had " realized that its only 
chance was to desert the Republican policies which it had 
already enacted into law," and to " accept the Populist creed 
which it had so bitterly denounced." Thus, " with a public 
confession of political guilt and an earnest assertion of 
change of heart," it sought to save itself by sacrificing the 
People's Party. And who could say that it would keep 
faith any more than it had done in the past? Its selection 
of Sewall was not a hopeful sign.^ " Cyclone " Davis, an 
anti-fusionist from Texas, said to a reporter of theConstiht- 
tion on the eve of the convention, " There have been three 
Presidents killed, by which the government passed into the 
hands of the Vice President. Elect Bryan and Sewall, 
and before. March is over Sewall will be made president 
through the assassination of Bryan accomplished by the 
money power, and thus you will have a national banker for 
President." ^ 

We can better appreciate the force of this conflict between 
West and South if we recall the fact that representation in 
this convention was based, not upon the electoral vote, but 
upon the strength of the People's Party in each state as in- 
dicated by the most recent elections. In this way the eleven 
Eastern states from Maine to Maryland, inclusive, had less 
than twelve per cent of the total vote. On the question of 

^People's Party Paper, July 31, 1896. 

^Quotation is from Watson's Letter of Acceptance (of Vice- 
Presidential nomination) — see Constitution, Nov. 12, 1896. Similar ex- 
pressions occurred in signed editorials by him in People's Party Paper, 
Jul.-iOct., 1896. 

'Constitution, July 21, 1896. 



199] ^^^ PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 igg 

complete fusion their delegates seem to have been divided, 94 
to 69, in favor of it.^ 

Before the convention opened a considerable number of 
the Southern anti-fusionists, convinced that unless Bryan 
were accepted the party would be split, decided to yield on 
this point with the reservation that a Populist must be named 
for second place.^ Some of them declaed at the close of 
the convention, and have maintained to the present day, that 
they were assured by Democratic " lobbyists," including 
Chairman Jones of the National Democratic Committee, that 
in case this were done, the Democrats would bring about 
the resignation of Sewall in favor of the Populist nominee.^ 
The later conduct of these " lobbyists," however, indicates 
that they were misunderstood or misrepresented, or else that 
they were very perfidious. Senator Marion Butler of North 
Carolina, leader of this compromise element, was made tem- 
porary chairman. Senator W. V. Allen of Nebrasks, a 
Bryan man, was made permanent president. Thus by the 
end of the first day's session Bryan's nomination seemed as- 
sured.* 

When the session adjourned the irreconcilables held a 
caucus, at which 21 states were represented, and decided to 
put out a " straight " Populist ticket headed by S. F, 
Norton of Illinois and Frank Burkitt ot Mississippi." 

^People's Party Paper, July 31, 1896. 

'Constitution, July 20-24; People's Party Paper,, July 31. 

'Card from W. L. Peek to Atlanta Journal, Axig. i, 18516; People's 
Party Paper, Aug. 7, 1896; Letter from Jno. I. Fullwood, of Gtorgia 
delegation, to Watson, in Watson collection ; personal testimony of Peek 
and Fullwood. Mr. Watson declared to the writer in a recent interview 
that Jones never denied making such a promise. Jones seems to have 
ignored the charge. 

* Constitution, July 23, 24, 1896 ; Stanwood, p. 550. 

^Constitution, July 23 (lacks details) ; Watson's Letter of Acceptance, 
op. cit. 



200 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [20O 

Meanwhile representatives of the compromise group wired 
Watson, who had remained at home, briefly stating the 
situation as they saw it (though without reference to the 
caucus of the irreconcilables) and inquiring whether he 
would accept a nomination for the Vice-Presidency on a 
ticket with Bryan. He agreed. He later declared that if 
he had known all the circumstances he would not have done 
so.^ 

An amendment was offered to the report of the committee 
on rules to the effect that the convention depart from 
the usual order and select the candidate for Vice-President 
before naming the one for President. It was carried by a 
vote of 738 to 637.^ In the interim before nominations 
were made there was a strenuous effort on the part of the 
Democratic " lobbyists " and some of the Populists to in- 
sure the nomination of Sewall as well as Bryan. Chairman 
Jones of the Democratic committee telegraphed to Bryan as 
follows : ' 

The Populists have decided to nominate the Vice-President 
first. If it is not Sewall what shall we do? I favor declination 
in thkt -event. 

Bryan replied," * 

i agree' with you fully. If Sewall is not nominated have my 
name, withdrawn. 

These messages failed of the desired effect. Watson was 
nominated after the first ballot. He received 539^ votes 
against 257 for Sewall, the remainder being scattered among 
four other candidates, all from the South. A sufficient 

'Watson collection; Letter of Acceptance, op. cit. 
'Constitution, July 26, i8g6; Stanwood, pp. SSO-SSi. 
"Augusta Chronicle, et al., July 25, 1896. 
*Ibid. 



20l] THE PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 2OI 

number of votes were changed to give Watson a majority.'' 
Fear that the extreme " middle-of-the-roaders " would carry 
out their threat of placing another ticket in the field probably 
had something to do with these results. On the vote for 
President, Bryan received 1042; Norton, 321; Eugene V. 
Debs, 8; Ignatius Donnelly, 3; J. S. Coxey, 1} 

It is interesting to note the similarity between the Demo- 
cratic and the Populist platforms. Both demanded the 
unlimited coinage of silver " at the present legal ratio of 
sixteen to one without waiting for the consent of foreign 
nations." Both demanded legislation to prevent the " de- 
monetization " of any lawful money by private contract. 
Both denounced the national banking system and demanded 
that all circulating notes be issued directly by the govern- 
ment. Both denounced the Cleveland bond sales. Both 
condemned the decision of the Supreme Court which held 
the income tax unconstitutional. On this point the Demo- 
crats were the more explicit, declaring it to be " the duty of 
Congress to use all the constitutional power which remains 
after that decision, or which may come from its reversal by 
the court as it may hereafter be constituted, so that the 
burden of taxation may be equally and impartially laid, to 
the end that wealth may bear its due proportion of the ex- 
penses of the government." The clause " as it may here- 
after be constituted " was thought in some quarters to be 
an implied threat of a radical reorganization of the court.^ 
It was probably intended, however, to refer only to the 
normal changes in personnel. The Democrats advocated a 
tariff for revenue only, but promised to make no further 
changes in schedules until the money question was settled, 

^ Stanwood, p. 554 ; Constitution, July 26, 1896. 

'Ibid. 

•Peck, p. 508. 



202 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [202 

" except such as are necessary to meet the deficit in revenue 
caused by the adverse decision of the Supreme Court on the 
income tax." The Popuhsts dodged the tariff. Both 
parties condemned the use of the injunction in labor disputes. 
The Democrats in this connection denounced " the arbitrary 
interference by federal authorities in local affairs," evidently 
referring to the use of the troops at Chicago at the time of 
the Pullman strike. The Populists called for government 
ownership of railroads, while the Democrats advocated 
further measures for government control. The Democrats 
did not parallel the Populists' demands for (i) postal sav- 
ings banks, (2) reclamation of lands granted to railroads 
and other corporations " in excess of their actual needs," 
(3) jo'bs on public works for the unemployed, (4) direct 
legislation through the initiative and referendum, and (5) 
direct election of President, Vice-President, and Senators.'' 
Now came the problem of making such a " fusion " actu- 
ally " fuse ; " or, as the " middle-of-the-roaders " — and 
even the Democrats in some localities — preferred, preventing' 
it from " fusing." Unless the Bryan Democrats and the 
Populists voted for the same man for Vice-President or for 
the same group of electors in each state, there would be no 
advantage so far as determining the electoral vote of the 
state was concerned in their having nominated the same can- 
didate for President. The Republicans would profit by the 
division of the silver vote the same as if some other man had 
been named as the Populist standard bearer. The " middle- 
of-the-roaders " realized this. Many of them still felt that it 
was more important ultimately to preserve the integrijty and 
permanence of their party than to elect a silver President in 
1896. This feeling was particularly strong in the South. 
In a signed editorial which appeared in the first issue of the 

•Stanwood, pp. 542-547, 551-554- 



203] THE PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 203 

People's Party Paper after the Populist convention ad- 
journed, Watson said : '■ 

There will be disappointment throughout the ranks of the 
People's Party at the failure of our national convention to 
nominate a " middle-of-the-road " ticket. 

The position of this paper upon that subject has not changed. 
We thought before the convention met, and we think now, 
that the welfare of our party, and of the principles it represents, 
demanded that we nominate our own ticket, and put upon 
that ticket two Populists, tried and true 

He then explained how the situation which developed at 
St. Louis made the course there followed seem the only 
alternative to complete fusion — short of a party split. It 
was thus to save his party intact that he consented to 
accept a place on the ticket, despite his former pronounce- 
ment that he would not consider a nomination. The De- 
mocrats must now make some concessions. Otherwise, 
" they will prove to all the world that their object in adopt- 
ing our platform was not so much to get free silver as to 
bury the People's Party." ' 

Watson demanded that Sewell resign or be "taken down." 
Sewall would not resign, and the Democratic committee 
evidently had no idea of " taking him down." If any ad- 
vantage were to be gained from " fusion," then, it would 
be necessary to arrange for a bi-partisan set of electors in 
each state. This problem was left to the local managers. 
In twenty-six states, nearly all of which were in the North 
and West, such agreements were reached, the proportions 
in most cases being based on the votes in the preceding elec- 
tion. O'f the Southern states, only Arkansas, Louisiana, 

'July 31. 
■'Ibid. 



204 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [204 

and North Carolina made such arrangements.^ In Georgia 
the Populists offered to grant six — later seven — out of 
thirteen places on the ticket to the Democrats, but with the 
understanding that the entire electoral vote of the state 
should go to Watson. This the Democrats regarded as un- 
reasonable. Hense " fusion " failed to " fuse " in Georgia.^ 
Much bitterness was manifested on both sides. Senator 
Jones, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, 
gave out an interview soon after the Populist convention in 
which he said : ^ 

I found while at St. Louis that the Populists of the North 
and West were generally broad minded and patriotic men. 
There were some of the same sort among the representatives 
from the South, but as a general rule the Southern delegates 
were not a creditable class. They practically admitted while 
in St. Louis that they were out for nothing but spoils. They 
said that there was " nothing in it " for them to indorse the 
Democratic nominees, and this same spirit will probably domi- 
nate their actions in the future. They will do all they can to 
harrass the Democracy and create confusion, and in the end 
they will do just as they are doing now in Alabama, fuse with 
the Republicans and vote for McKinley. They will go with 
the negroes where they belong. 

Watson thought this a " clumsy effort to create discord " 
between the Populists of the North and West and those of 
the South. It was designed also, he said, " to invoke a 
bitter reply." But it would fail of this purpose as it would 
of the former one. In the same article he declared that the 
Democratic idea of fusion was " that we play Jonah while 
they play whale." He characterized Sewall as " a corpora- 

^Not counting the border states. Stanwood, pp. 564-565. 
^Constitution and Journal and People's Party Paper, Sep.-Nov., 1896. 
' People's Party Paper, Aug. 7, 1896. 



20S] THE PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 205 

tion plutocrat." No Populist, he said, should vote for any 
elector who supported Sewall.^ 

Although nearly all the Democratic editors and politicians 
denounced the course of the Populists, a few of them com- 
mended it and urged that the Democracy was morally bound 
to accept Watson in place of Sewall. The Atlanta Com- 
mercial, Democratic at the time of the conventions, declared 
that whether Jones and others of his party actually made the 
promise attributed to them by the Populists or not, their 
course in urging the nomination of Bryan as a " fusion " 
proposition after Watson had already been selected for 
second place made it their duty to yield on the question of 
the Vice- Presidency. This paper afterwards threw its sup- 
port to the Populists.^ Thomas R. R. Cobb, a prominent 
Democrat, took a similar position and organized Bryan- 
Watson clubs. ^ The "gold-bug" organs on grounds of 
party loyalty, remained regular. Some of them were much 
more liberal in their attitude toward the Populists than were 
the Democratic silverites. The Journal and the Constitution 
were at odds as usual. The former, while it accepted de- 
cisions of the Democracy which it did not like, was much 
more favorably inclined toward the Populist contentions.* 
John Temple Graves, a rising young journalist who had 
been a gold Democrat, came out squarely for Bryan and 
Watson. To this mind the question of gold or silver was 
being overemphasized. He doubted the wisdom of free 
silver, but he was in sympathy with the fundamental aims 
of the Populists and the Bryan Democrats. " I support 
Watson," he said, 

'^Ibid. It should be noted that despite the quarrel over the Vice- 
Presidential question, Watson " stumped " several of the doubtful states 
in the West for Bryan. 

'Excerpts in People's Party Paper, Aug. 7 and subsequent issues; 
clippings, Watson collection. 

^People's Party Paper, Aug. 21, 1896; clippings, Watson' collection. 

* Files, Aug.-Nov., 1896. 



266 • THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [206 

because I feel that the Democratic party is bound in honor 
to support him — bound by the contract, solemn and honorable 
■ — implied in the presence and attitude of Jones and Bland at 
the Populist convention at St. Louis. . . . 

I support Watson because he represents a party that has 
educated our Democratic party to a due consideration of the 
welfare of the common people. I say it fearlessly, and it can 
not be denied, that reforms for which the masses have been 
clamoring for years — whether it be silver or labor or income 
tax or popular rights or resistance to government by injunction 
— had never been written, and might never have been written, 
into a Democratic platform, until the Populist party, 1,800,000 
strong, thundered in the ears of Democratic leaders the an- 
nouncement that a mighty multitude demanded these reforms. 
And among the men who have molded, through storm and 
struggle, the party that has educated ours to popular liberty, 
Tom Watson of Georgia stands easily first and foremost of 
them all. 

Of the political situation in Georgia in particular, he said: 

I am fighting a system, and men only as they represent it. 
I will grant you that the men of the machine have grown up 
so naturally under its shadow, and have prospered so signally 
by its workings, that they may sincerely believe in the propriety 
of a system of politics which I know to be pernicious and bane- 
ful to the state. . . . While this system lasts there are no pure 
politics, and no free men, in Georgia. ... It is rotten to the 
core, and there is no remedy for it but destruction. 

There are 180,000 voters in Georgia — maybe more. But there 
are 150 politicians who rule the state and hold its offices as 
absolutely in fee as if they had received a title to the property! 
This is unspeakable shame in a liberty-loving commonwealth, 
and the people are getting ready to wipe it out in October.^ 

'Card to Constitution, Aug. 27. See also People's Party Paper, Sep> 
II, 1896. 



207] ^^^ PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 20/ 

Indeed "the People " were preparing for another battle 
against the machine. Disconcerted but not discouraged by 
the fact that the Democrats had " stolen " their national 
platform, the People's Party of the state met in convention 
August 6. Their platform was the same as in 1894 with 
one important exception — they came out for prohibition. 
Ever since the Alliance movement first went into politics, 
there had been considerable pressure upon it to embrace this 
cause ; and it had yielded a time or two to resolutions, apart 
from the main platforms, expressing sympathy for the 
fight against the liquor traffic. But heretofore its leaders 
had been afraid, it seems, that an out-and-out stand against 
the saloon might hinder the advancement of other reforms 
which seemed to them more important. Now that they had 
forced upon the Democracy the major portion of their old 
platform, state as well as national, they decided to adopt this 
new plank. It called for " an anti-barroom law which shall 
make secure the local prohibition already obtained, abolish 
the beverage sale of intoxicating liquors, and provide for 
the sale for other purposes under public control." The 
gubernatorial nominee was " Scab " Wright. He was a 
prominent lawyer of Rome, and " one of the ablest men in 
the state." ' An ardent prohibitionist from his youth, he 
had been a candidate for public office only once before : and 
that was in 1878 when at the age of twenty he won a seat 
in the legislature as an Independent Democrat, favoring local 
option for the restriction of the liquor traffic. His race had 
been a part of a general movement which had in the course 
of the late seventies and eighties resulted in prohibition for 
nearly all the counties except those which embraced the 
larger towns and cities. Wright had also been a consistent 
advocate of independency in politics and a sworn enemy of 

'Atlanta Journal, Aug. 8, 1896. 



2o8 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [208 

the machine. He had been' a supporter of Felton in the 
earlier movement against the " court-house rings," and was 
a strong advocate of Populism/ 

The Democrats renominated Governor Atkinson.^ They 
accepted the challenge of the Populists on prohibition as 
the major issue. Local option was working well, they 
said, and was more in keeping with the time-honored 
Democratic principle of local self-government. Already 105 
out of 137 counties had prohibition.' Banish the saloon 
from the state, and " blind tigers " would present a worse 
evil. Besides, the " dispensary " system favored by the 
Populists, under which liquors would be sold in limited quan- 
tities for non-beverage purposes, with state supervision, was 
capable of great abuse. It is doubtful whether the Populists 
gained many votes on this issue. With few exceptions, Demo^ 
crats who espoused the cause of temperance seem either 
to have objected to the particular plan which the Populists 
advocated, or to have felt that they should work for the 
acceptance of their cause in their own party.* 

The Democrats were able to " point with pride " to 
several reforms in line with Populist demands, accomplished 
since the last election. An anti-trust law had been passed 
in 1895 making illegal all arrangements or agreements, 
" made with a view to lessen, or which tend to lessen, free 
competition in the importation, sale, or manufacture " of 
commodities; and providing, in addition to other punish- 
ment, for the forfeiture of charters or franchises held by 
violators of this law. Another measure, designed tO' protect 
farmers against frauds on the part of agents handling their 

^Constitution, June 9, Aug. 7, 8, 9, 19; Journal, Aug. 8; People's Party 
Paper, Aug. 7, 14, i8g6. 
'Constitution, June 26, 1896. 
'Ibid., Aug. 19. 
^Constitution, Journal, et al., Aug.-Oct., 1896. 



20g] THE PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 209 

produce, made it illegal for these to direct consignments to 
irresponsible persons, or to dupe the farmers in reference 
to the sale of such products. The offices of state school 
commissioner and justices of the supreme court were made 
elective. Provision was made for a school-book commis- 
sion, to select uniform text books and to arrange with pub- 
lishers and dealers so that they might be distributed at a 
lower price. The election laws were amended; but, despite 
the loud praise with which these amendments were greeted, 
they proved of little advantage to the cause of " a free ballot 
and a fair count." ' 

The state election, which came in October, was very much 
like the two preceding ones. The same kinds of irregulari- 
ties, corruptions, and frauds were practised, with apparently 
little or no abatement.^ The returns gave the Democrats 
120,827 votes, or 222 fewer than in 1894; and gave the 
Populists 85,832, or 11,056 fewer than in '94. The Popu- 
lists carried 31 counties as against 46 two years before.' 

The Democrats seem to have felt that the Populists " men- 
ace " was passing. Their executive committee became more 
positive in its refusal to accept the proposition of the Watson 
group for fusion on the Presidential ticket. The Wat- 
sonites, who had formerly offered to concede only six out 
of thirteen electors, now offered seven, but they still main- 
tained that the entire vote of the state should go to Bryan 
and Watson. They declared that if this proposition were 
rejected they would probably withdraw from the Presidential 
contest and leave the voters to choose between the Demo- 
crats and the Republicans. While they claimed that this was 

^Georgia Laws, 1895, pp. 15, 65, 69, 356; Code, 1895, sects. 47-Si, 70, 
72, 77, 622-636. 

' Georgia press, Oct..TNov., 1896; clippings and correspondence, Watson 
collection. 

* House Journal, 1894, 1896; Constitution, lOct. 24, 1894, 'Oct. 30, 1896. 



2IO THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [210 

not intended as a threat to throw the Popuhst influence to 
McKinley, it was naturally so interpreted. But the Demo- 
crats did not yield. The Populist Presidential ticket was 
withdrawn.^ 

Most of the Watsonites evidently refrained from voting 
for President. The total vote of the state was 58,000 
smaller than in 1892. In one or two communities the 
Bryan-Watson ticket was released — apparently by a misim- 
derstanding, — and thus polled 440 votes. A considerable 
number of Populists seem to have voted for McKinley, as 
the Republican vote was 12,000 larger than in 1892. The 
bitter political dispute, the desire to rebuke the local De- 
mocracy, and doubtless in some cases the scramble for of- 
fices tended with these to overshadow the national issues. 
The Prohibitionists polled 5,716 votes, as against 988 in 
1 8912. John M. Palmer, the candidate of the " gold " De- 
mocrats, received 2,708. The majority for the Bryan- 
Sewall ticket was 25,717.'' '■< 

The national campaign and its results are too well known 
in their broader aspects to call for more than passing mention 
here. Party lines were shattered as never before since the 
Civil War. The " silver " Republicans supportd Bryan, 
while the " gold " Democrats put out a separate candidate. 
The Prohibitionists were split; the Populists were demoral- 
ized. In August and early September the chances seemed 
to favor Bryan. In a speaking tour unparalleled in history^ 
he is said to have addressed altogther some 5,000,000 people. 
But the McKinley forces put forth a supreme effort to elect 
their candidate. They were fortunate in having the great 
combinations of wealth on their side. Between $3,000,000 
and $6,000,000 were raised and spent by the Republican 

'Georgia press, Aug.-Nov., 1896. 

'Stanwood, p. 567. All the Democratic nominees for Congress were 
elected. 



2iiJ THE PARTY REVOLUTION OF 1896 2II 

managers. Of this sum $250,000 came from the Standard 
Oil Company. A flood of campaign Hterature, aggregating 
about 120,000,000 documents, poured forth from the Mc- 
Kinley offices in Chicago and New York. Thousands of 
speakers were sent into the doubtful states to warn the 
people against the business calamity which it was said would 
surely follow if Bryan were elected. Republican speakers, 
editors, pamphleteers, and even preachers, gave way to ex- 
travagant and abusive language equal to that which they had 
formerly condemned in the Populists. Employers told their 
employees that if Bryan were elected they need not report 
for work. Contracts were given with the understanding 
that they were to be filled only in case McKinley were elected. 
When the storm was over it was seen that McKinley had won 
by an electoral vote of 271 to 176, with a popular plurality 
of 602,555. The new Democracy was beaten; the People's 
Party was wrecked.^ 

'Croly, ch. xvi; Perk, ch. xi; Dewey, ch. xx; Haynes, ch. xviii. 



CHAPTER VII ' 

Aftermath 

The People's Party was never again a serious factor in 
the nation's politics, but Populism in one form or another 
remained a vital force. The middle-of-ithe-roaders con- 
tinued to put out a presidential ticket until 1908, but the 
largest vote polled in this period (that of 1904) was little 
more than a tenth as large as the vote for Weaver had been 
in 1892. State and local organizations hung on for several 
years — in Georgia until 1902, — carrying a few scattering' 
counties. In the meantime Populism was becoming less and 
less synonymous with the People's Party. Its leaven was 
working in„all parties. The immediate sequel of ninety-six 
was a period of political reaction, a " return to normalcy " 
as it were ; but this in turn gave place to another movement 
for reform. Stimulated by the " muck-rakers," directed 
in some of its milder phases by Roosevelt, championed 
more fully by men like LaFollette and some of the Bryan 
Democrats, it found expression in a series of political and 
economic reforms in various states in the early years of the 
new century, in the Insurgent-Progressive revolt of 1910- 
12, the domestic policies of the first Wilson administration, 
the more radical Nonpartisan League, the Farmer-Labor 
party, and the present " farmers' bloc " in Congress. All 
these have been in a sense an aftermath of the Populist 
movement. 

In the South the results have been more or less unique. 
State-wide primaries of the white Democracy have in most 
212 [212 



213] . AFTERMATH 213 

cases become the real elections. In these the old guard of 
the People's Party has usually played an important role, 
either as a balance of power or as the main body of the more 
radical or popular faction. The lines have not been sharply 
drawn : new issues have arisen, new voters have appeared, 
and with the growth of industry a wider opportunity has been 
presented to the politician by the vote of the poorer classes 
in the towns and cities. To the arguments of the old-time 
Populists have too often been added unfortunate appeals 
to race, religious, and other prejudices. On the other hand 
it has not infrequently happened that " Simon-pures " have 
become bedfellows of once despised " Pops." Then too, 
the wires have been crossed at times on the issues. In the 
main, however, for good or for ill, the popular faction has 
advocated reforms along the general lines of those urged by 
the Populists in the nineties. In some states political power 
has passed back and forth between the " Bourbons " and 
the " wool hat boys." Thus despite the misfortune of the 
one-party system the South has not been as solid or as 
stagnant politically as might be inferred from the face of 
the election returns. ' 

There were several reasons for the political calm of the 
late nineties and early years of the present century. The 
defeat of the radicals had been decisive. The people were 
tired of the long agitation. The Spanish war tended to draw 
attention away from " family quarrels," and to direct the 
pugnacious instinct against a common " foe." In its wake 
came the issue of imperialism to overshadow for a time 
domestic questions. 

But more important was the fact that prosperity was re- 
turning. The demand for more money was met from un- 
expected quarters. The discovery of gold in Alaska in 
1897, the development of the Rand mines in South Africa 
about the same time, together with the perfection of the 



214 ^^^^ POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [214 

cyanide process of gold extraction, resulted in a great in- 
crease in the world's output of the yellow metal. The 
gold famine was ended. The Spanish-American war 
brought new issues of government bonds, and hence an ex- 
pansion of bank notes. The volume of money considerably 
increased ; likewise the demand for goods : prices rose. The 
long winter of economic adversity gave place to the spring of 
reviving prosperity. 

It was unfortunate for the cause of reform that the silver 
issue had assumed such prominence as to typify in the minds 
of many the whole movement. For, as the change in the 
financial situation made this demand less defensible, there 
was a tendency to cast the whole program into the same 
shadow. 

The reactionary drift of the time was clearly manifested 
in the campaign of 1898 in Georgia. The Democratic can- 
didate for governor, Allen D. Candler, declared in his open- 
ing speech that " the greatest peril that now threatens us is 
the growing tendency to depart from old landmarks and 
venture upon untried seas .... Much of our progress is 
progress in the wrong direction." We must adhere more 
strictly to " the Constitution of our fathers," and especially 
check the tendency toward concentration of power in the 
government. He favored free silver, " but would not ex- 
clude from the party those who differ on this question. 
And if time should demonstrate that they were right and I 
wrong, I would be quick to get in line with them." He did 
not doubt the sincerity of the rank and file of the Populists. 
They had simply strayed after false gods, and now were 
returning home.^ The platform on which he ran scarcely 
alluded to state affairs. It affirmed the righteousness of 
our cause in the Spanish war, endorsed the Chicago platform 

^Constitution, Aug. 21, 1898. 



215] AFTERMATH 215 

of 1896, declared for a Nicaraguan canal, and favored the 
preferential primaries for candidates for the United States 
Senate.^ In the pre-convention contest, Candler was gen- 
erally supported by the more conservative papers, and by 
such men as Joseph M. Brown, son of the late Joseph E. 
Brown and, like his father, prominently connected with 
railroads and other corporate enterprises. Thus Candler 
was said by his Democratic as well as Populist opponents to 
represent the corporate interests. This seems to have been 
true in no dishonest sense, however. He was a man of ex- 
cellent reputation, conservative by nature, and inclined to 
view the problems of his day in the light of the business 
man's ideals. He had been a Confederate colonel, and had 
been in public life continuously since 1872 — first in the 
Georgia legislature, then in Congress, then as secretary of 
state under Governor Atkinson.^ 

The Populists first nominated Watson for governor, but 
he refused to run. They afterwards named J. R. Hogan, a 
strong middle-of-the-Toader. Their platform again con- 
demned the inequitable tax system, called for the abolition 
of the convict lease, demanded popular election of all public 
officers, anti-pass legislation, improvement of the public 
schools, the Australian ballot system, and the initiative and 
referendum. Hogan emphasized in his campaign the need 
of a permanent and effective opposition party. He declared 
that the Populists had forced the Democrats to give over 
to the people the election of supreme and superior court 
judges and solicitors, to collect interest on the state's funds 
formerly deposited without interest in " pet " banks, to 
make some advance in the regulation of corporations, and 
to accept the Populist position on the money question. 
More important features of their state program, however, 

1 Constitution, June 30, 1898. 
'Ibid., June 5, 1898. 



2i6 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [216 

had been persistently blocked. If these were to be accom- 
plished, the Populists must be given full power.'- ' 

The vote stood: Candler, 117, 455; Hogan, 50,841. The 
Populists carried only eight out of 137 counties. Candler 
was reelected in 1900, the Populist vote falling this time to 
21,622.^ 

Meanwhile in national politics, though the cause for which 
Populists and Bryan Democrats had battled in 1896 had 
lost much of its compelling force, the hold of the " Great 
Commoner " on the Democracy had remained secure. He 
was unanimously chosen as the standard bearer in 1900. 
In full accord with his party in its opposition to the im- 
perialistic policies of the McKinley administration and 
willing that this be regarded as the " paramount issue," he 
insisted, nevertheless, on retaining the obsolescent demand 
for unlimited coinage of silver. At first the prevailing sen- 
timent of the convention seems to have been that this ques- 
tion should be dropped, or at least obscured. Bryan main- 
tained, however, that the position of the party in the pre- 
ceding campaign was still right, and that thousands of 
his supporters would regard him as a traitor if he were to 
accept a nomination on a platform less explicit than that on 
which he had formerly run. He finally had his way: the 
entire program of 1896 was endorsed. But first came the 
question of imperialism, followed by that of government reg- 
ulation of business. The Hepublicans were denounced for 
their " dishonest paltering with the trust evil." They had 
virtually cast aside the Sherman Act and had permitted 
monopolies to flourish with renewed vigor, nourishing them 
with another high protective tariff. Strict enforcement of 
existing laws and the enactment of more stringent ones 

Constitution, Mar. 17, May 19, July 13, 1898. 
' Georgia House Journal, 1898, pp. 26, 27 ; ibid., 1900. 



2I7J AFTERMATH 217 

were demanded. The Republicans, on the other hand, stood 
upon their record, pointing with pride to the evidences of 
returning prosperity for which they assumed full credit. 
They named McKinley for a second term, with Roosevelt 
as his running mate. The Silver Republicans again sup- 
ported Bryan, as did the Fusion Populists. The Supreme 
Council of the dying Southern Alliance pledged the support 
of that order to the Democratic candidate in advance of the 
nomination. The " middle-of-the-roaders " put out a sep- 
arate ticket, headed by Wharton Barker and Ignatius Don- 
nelly. Under existing conditions, McKinley would prob- 
ably have been elected even though the silver question had 
not figured. As it was, he won by a somewhat greater 
margin than before. The campaign was far less stormy and 
the total vote was smaller than in 1896. The Populists 
polled only 50,599 votes.^ 

Bryanism seemed dead. In the course of the next four 
years it lost control of the Democratic party. In 1904 
Alton B. Parker, a representative of the conservative wing, 
was nominated for the Presidency on the first ballot. Many 
of the leaders who had been enthusiastic supporters of 
Bryan were now strongly favorable to Parker. In a sense 
the two parties had reversed their positions. Roosevelt, 
who became President after the assassination of McKinley 
in 1 901 and who was now the Republican candidate for 
another term, was spokesman for a newly arising reform 
movement. Though more conservative in his attitude to- 
ward such questions as government control over business, 
he was regarded as more " progressive " than Parker. As 
a protest against the reactionary turn of the Democracy, the 
Populist party was revived with Watson as its standard 
bearer. Watson polled 114,546 votes, or more than twice 

'Stanwood, vol. ii, pp. 1-76. 



2i8 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [218 

as many as his predecessor had received in 1900. The 
SociaHst vote rose from 128,296 in 1900 to 436,385 in 1904. 
The Democrats failed to carry a single state outsiide the 
South. There the popular protest against the change in 
Democratic leadership was expressed mainly by abstention 
from voting: the total vote of the section was more than 
half a million smaller than in 1900, whereas in the rest of 
the country it was a hundred thousand larger. It was a time 
of transition.^ 

In Georgia, not since the eighties had there been such 
political calm as reigned in 1904. Joseph M. Terrell, a 
thoroughgoing conservative who had been elected governor 
in 1902, was reelected without opposition. The People's 
Party put out no state ticket. The state Democratic con- 
vention was "a unit for Parker," instructing its delegates 
to vote for him as long as there was a chance for his nomi- 
nation. While a considerable group of the old-guard Popu- 
lists voted for Watson for President, there was unusually 
small interest manifested in the elections.^ 

But it was the calm before the storm. Before another 
year had passed, the state was plunged into a campaign 
which almost rivaled the struggles of the nineties in popular 
interest and excitement. This time the contest was within 
the Democratic party. In the spring of 1905, Clark Howell, 
who had been a sort of power behind the throne in Georgia 
politics since the time when he became spokesman for the 
conservative faction of the Alliance, announced himself as 
a candidate for the gubernatorial nomination more than a 
year in advance of the election. Hoke Smith, his old-time 
rival, who had been in political retirement since the silverites 
gained control of the Democracy, regarded the time as op- 
portune for another attack upon the abuses of railroads and 

'Stanwood, vol. ii, pp. 77-140. 
"^ Cf. Knight, vol. ii, pp. 1045-1046. 



219] AFTERMATH 219 

Other corporations which Howell was said to represent, and 
at the same time for a revival of his own political fortunes. 
The apparent reversal in the positions of the two men may 
be explained by the change in emphasis upon the issues. 
Always more conservative on the money question, Smith, 
an anti-corporation lawyer, was more radical in his attitude 
toward government regulation. Through the editorial 
columns of the Atlanta Journal, he now launched a spirited 
attack upon corporate abuses and upon the failure of the 
railroad commission and other'political agencies'tocurb themj 
while Howell replied through his paper, the Constitution. 
The chief point of the attack was the Southeastern Freight 
Association. This body, with headquarters in Atlanta, 
was said to represent a combination among " competing " 
roads to do away with competition in violation of both state 
and federal laws. As a result of its activities, exorbitant 
and discriminating rates were maintained. For hauls of 300 
to 500 miles, for example, it was pointed out that Georgians 
paid about a third more than did shippers in neighboring' 
states. The advantages which ocean transportation might 
otherwise have afforded were largely nullified by inordinate 
charges between interior stations and the ports. Such " port 
rates " were maintained, it was said, as a part of the general 
scheme for eliminating competition. When efiforts were 
made to correct such abuses, it was found that the roads ap- 
parently controlled the various agencies which the people 
had established for protection against them. They were 
directly represented in places of power in the government — • 
even on the railroad commission. They granted passes to 
legislators and other public servants and their families, con- 
tributed freely to campaign funds, maintained powerful 
lobbies in the state capitols and at Washington, and thus 
were able to violate the laws against combinations, discrim- 
inations, watered stock, etc. with impunity. " A few 



220 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [220 

financiers," said the Journal editorially, " through their con- 
trol over the railroad systems of the country, are able to 
control the entire industrial situation." Thus the old issue 
of " the rights of the people against the corporate interests " 
was revived.^ 

In the meantime another issue was being emphasized — ■ 
that of negro disfranchisement. This seems to have been 
brought in to further insure the support of the Populistic 
element, as Watson had become a strong advocate of such 
a measure. Lamenting the fact that the white South could 
not divide in politics " without the fear of a negro umpire," 
Watson had declared before an Atlanta audience in 1904 
that if the Democrats would put up a candidate pledged to 
a program of disfranchisement he would swing to him every 
Populist whom he could influence. Rememberiag this pro- 
mise, the opposition to Howell sent an emissary to Watson 
in the spring of 1905, and they agreed together to call for 
disfranchisement along with railroad regulation, and to put 
forward as their candidate Pope Brown (not to be confused 
with Joseph M. Brown). A few weeks after Brown's 
announcement appeared and it became known that he had 
the support of Watson, he suddenly withdrew in favor of 
Hoke Smith. Watson was nonplussed. He and Smith had 
been political enemies. Smith had denounced him in rather 
severe terms. But Watson was anxious to see the opposi- 
tion program carried through; hence he agreed that, if the 
new candidate would publicly retract certain statements 
formerly made concerning him, he would not withhold his 
support. Appropriate amends were made and the Populist 
backing was retained.^ The program included : reorganiza- 
tion of the railway commission; enlargement of its powers 

' Atlanta Journal, April 30, May 26, 29, June 4, 1905 ; Constitution, 
June 24, 1906. 
' Letter from Mr. Watson to the writer, April 25, 1922. 



221] AFTERMATH 221 

to cover other public service corporations; laws to prevent 
lobbying, the free-pass evil, and contributions from corpora- 
tions to campaign funds; also legislation to eliminate the 
ignorant negro vote and to regulate primaries." ^ 

For more than a year the campaign raged. Thrown on 
the defensive, the Howell forces maintained that the corpor- 
ations had no greater influence in the government than their 
importance warranted and their rights entitled them to; 
that the policies of the opposition would tend to drive capital 
from the state. Negro disfranchisement was unnecessary, 
unwise, and unconstitutional. Smith was declared to be a 
demagogue and a " muck-raker " who was being " run by 
Tom Watson." " An effort was made to prevent the 
participation of the Populists in the primary. The executive 
committee of the Democratic party, being under conservative 
influences, required that all ballots, to be considered valid, 
bear the following inscription : — " By voting this ticket, I 
hereby declare that I am an organized Democrat, and I 
hereby pledge myself to support the organized Democracy, 
both state and national." ^ But this ruse proved of little 
avail. The primary was a landslide for Smith.* 

Whether for good or for ill, rarely have as many im- 
portant laws been enacted in so brief a time as were passed 
in Georgia during the two ensuing years. The railway com- 
mission was reorganized to include five, instead of three, 
members, and was given supervision over street railways, 
docks, terminals, telephone, gas, water, electric light and 
power companies. Violators of the rulings of the commis- 
sion or of the state's corporation laws were to be punished 

^Journal, June 4, igos, June 29, igo6. 

'Constitution, April 3, 26, May S, 6, June 14, 17, 24, July I, 1906. 

'Ibid., May I, 1906. 

*Ibid., Aug. 23, 1906; Georgia House Journal, 1907, pp. 86-87. 



222 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [222 

like other crminals. In case laws or rulings were appealed 
to the courts, they must be obeyed pending a decision. A 
special state's attorney was provided to press prosecutions 
of offending companies. James K. Hines, Populist candi- 
date for governor in 1894, was appointed to this place. As 
a result of these changes, freight and passenger rates were 
materially reduced, discriminations were to some extent 
eliminated, and other reforms were accomplished. The 
granting of free passses was prohibited except to railroad 
officials, employees, and their dependents. Corporations, 
their officers and agents were forbidden to make contribu- 
tions to campaign funds, " or for the purpose of influencing* 
the vote, judgment, or action of any official of this state." 
Candidates were required to file with the comptroller-general 
for publication itemized statements of their campaign expedi- 
tures and of the sources from which contributions had been 
received. State primaries were brought under government 
supervision in much the same way as elections were. A 
law was passed designed to disfranchise the bulk of the 
negroes by indirection. While the question of prohibition 
had not been regarded as an issue in the campaign, the tem- 
perance forces took advantage of the general wave of re- 
form and secured the passage of a law prohibiting the manu- 
facture or sale of intoxicating liquors in the state. This, it 
will be remembered, marked the rise of the recent wave 
which culminated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the 
federal Constitution. It is an interesting fact that Seaborn 
Wright, who had led the Populists of the state in the cam- 
paign of 1896 when prohibition had been their chief issue, 
was floor leader for the measure in the House when the 
Georgia law was passed. Before the reformers completed 
their work they dragged from the closet that ancient skele- 
ton, the convict lease, and in an extra session called for the 
purpose they abolished the iniquitous system. Thus a leg- 



223] AFTERMATH 223 

islature which had been elected to no small extent by the old 
Populist vote and which contained a number of ex-Populist 
members had enacted a considerable part of the program of 
the People's Party/ 

Reaction was almost sure to follow such a tidal wave of 
reform. Many and powerful were the interests that had 
been antagonized. Opponents of prohibition declared it 
unfair that the Smith legislature had " put over " this law 
when it had not been an issue in the campaign. Those in- 
terested in railroads or other public utilities were incensed 
that their enterprises had been " put in a strait-jacket." 
Simon-pures were outraged that the prodigal sons had par- 
taken of the fatted calf and all but usurped the family man- 
sion. A powerful argument was afforded the reactionaries 
by the bursting of the panic of 1907 in the midst of the 
reform administration. Times suddenly became very hard. 
The railroads greatly reduced their train service, and thous- 
ands were thrown out of employment. Many of the more 
ignorant people were easily led to believe that " Hoke Smith 
caused the panic." Even more intelligent ones declared that 
there was an element of truth in such a statement ; that Smith 
and scores of other " demagogues " like him throughout 
the country in their " muck-rake movement," had so per- 
secuted corporate enterprises as to throw the whole business 
system into a panic. The bolder reformers retorted that 
recalcitrant enterprises, under punishment for their sins, 
were simply fighting back; and that, if the people yielded, 
these creatures would become more completely their masters 
than before.^ : 

'Knight, vol. ii, pp. 1067-1087; Constitution, Aug. 16, 1907; Georgia 
Laws, 1907, pp. 72-83; ibid., 1908, pp. S'3-8i2, 65-66, 1029, 1049, 1059-1091, 
1119-1130. See also under "Aftermath" in Bibliography, infra. 

'Cf. Knight, vol. ii, pp. 1077- 1095. 



224 1'HE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [224 

Strangely enough, the man who was destined to turn the 
landslide for Smith of 1906 into a signal defeat two years 
later was one whom Smith had discharged from the railway 
commission for opposing " the popular will." Smith had 
declared in his campaign that if elected he would remove 
Joseph M. Brown from that body. Son of a prominent 
railroad promoter and official, virtually reared in the council 
chambers of such corporations, and still directly interested 
in their financial well-being, Brown was said to be incapable 
of judging impartially the questions which came before the 
commission. He opposed Smith's program, not only in 
official meetings, but also in a series of published cards ad- 
dressed to the people. The latter course seemed to the 
governor to be an act of insubordination. For some reason, 
he waited until three days after the legislature adjourned in 
1907 before demanding Brown's resignation, thus giving 
him no opportunity to defend himself before that body at 
the time. To many this seemed a blow beneath the belt. 
The conservative press took up Brown's cause with great 
vim and he soon became a " martyr." When he announced 
himself as a candidate for governor. Smith made the tactical 
blunder of treating his candidacy with contempt. Brown 
was very small and homely : Smith was large and handsome. 
Brown had been a " goat ; " Smith, a popular idol. But the 
latter seems to have presumed too far upon his own popularity 
and his opponent's physical defects. His attitude stimulated 
the wrong reaction from thousands of the plain people. 
" Little Joe stepped into pa's shoes." As the campaign 
advanced in the midst of the hard times and unemployment, 
the opposition made much of the slogan, " Hoke aijd hunger : 
Brown and bread." To add to Smith's embarrassment, 
Watson withdrew support from him. The reason for this 
is a matter of controversey. Watson's enemies have held 
that he was influenced by political jealousy and personal 



225] AFTERMATH 225 

Spleen. He himself maintains that he supported Smith in the 
first instance reluctantly, especially in view of the manner 
in which his support had been gained; that he became of- 
fended because, during his absence from the state in 1907, 
Smith had sought to abolish the county-unit plan, which 
gives greater relative voting strength to the country counties 
and hence is one of Watson's greatest political assets. This 
move he regarded as a stab in the back by one whom he had 
befriended. While Watson never came out for Brown, 
his estrangement with Smith caused many of his followers 
to vote for " Little Joe." The latter was borne into the 
governorship on a flood tide, but found himself stranded 
with a " Smith " legislature.' 1 

Two years later " the people " again changed their minds. 
Brown went out and Smith went in. Before the end of 
his second term as governor, Smith was sent to the United 
States Senate. Brown took his place in the governor's 
mansion. Back and forth went the pendulum.^ Smith 
remained in the Senate until defeated by Watson in 1920. 

Watson in the meantime has gained new followers in a 
number of ways. Through his various publications he has 
not only continued his attacks upon bossism, railroads, trusts, 
and money power, but has also " exposed " the " Catholic 
menace; " taken the popular side against Leo Frank, a jew 
accused of the murder of a Christian factory girl; opposed 
the draft, " Palmerism," " Burlesonism," the Versailles 
treaty and the League of Nations. He was narrowly de- 
feated for Congress in his district in 191 8 and was over- 
whelmingly elected to the Senate in 1920. In the latter 

'Knight, vol. ii, pp. 1077-1095; Constitution, June 9, 1906; Constitution 
and Journal, June, 1907- Aug., 1908; Letter from Mr. Watson to the 
writer, April 25, 1922. 

'Knight, vol. ii, pp. 1108-1123, et esq. 



226 2"HE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [226 

year his faction gained complete control of the state gov- 
ernment.^ 

While the reigns of power have thus pas'sed back and 
forth between the two factions, other advances have been 
made in the way of correcting old grievances. In 1910 the 
tax system was revised so as to provide for " equalization 
boards." These have helped, it seems, to distribute the 
burden of taxation somewhat more equitably over the vari- 
ous kinds of property. Important advances have been made 
in the public school system. During Brown's first ad-*, 
ministration a law was passed authorizing county boards to 
borrow funds when necessary to pay teachers' salaries 
promptly. During the second term of governor Smith the 
school system was reorganized and placed upon a much 
more efficient basis. Rural schools have profited especially 
by the reorganization.^ 

Agrarian conditions in general have greatly improved, 
since the time of the Populists. Liens have become much 
less common and the exorbitant differences between cash 
and credit prices seem largely to have disappeared. Twenty 
years of rising prices and freer money, appreciation in the 
value of real estate, improvements in transportation con- 
ditions, the Federal Reserve System with its provisions for 
rural credit, a somewhat more equitable adjustment of tax- 
ation, the parcel post, the rural free delivery, postal savings 
banks, improved educational advantages, better roads, along 
with Ford cars, telephones, and the like, have conspired to 
advance the conditions of the masses. 

Some of these things have had no connection with the 
Populist movement, and others may have been only remotely 

^Tom Watson's Magazine, 1905-06; Watson's Jeffersonian Magazine, 
1907, et seq. ; The Jeffersonian (weekly) — suppressed during the war, 
supplanted by the Columbia Sentinel. 

'Knight, vol. ii, pp. 1106-1113 et seq. 



227] AFTERMATH 22/ 

influenced by it, but those which represent reforms in line 
with its demands have come as a tardy fulfillment of its pro- 
gram. Add to these the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amend- 
ments to the federal Constitution, providing for a graduated 
income tax and popular election of Senators, and it appears 
that a great portion of that program, once denounced by 
conservatives as absurd and iniquitous, has been realized. 

But one should not be unduly optimistic. While much 
has been accomplished, the fundamental problems with 
which the Populists were concerned have not been solved. 
The supply of money has become more plentiful and more 
elastic, and credit is generally obtainable on more reasonable 
terms, but both are still largely controlled by a relatively 
small group of financiers. Prices have risen, but they have 
not been stabilized. A downward swing of the curve brings 
back the old grievance of producers and debtors, while an 
upward slant injures creditors and those on relatively fixed 
incomes.^ Seasonal and regional fluctuations in prices and 
money supply, though they have been somewhat mitigated. 
by the Federal Reserve System, have not been eliminated. 
Only a meager beginning has been made in the matter of 
rural credits. Transportation problems are still pressing.. 
The trust question is unsolved. The system of taxation 
leaves much to be desired. Problems of industrial labor 
are still with us. While the people may have gained some^ 
what more efifective control over their government, they 
have not eliminated the boss, the demagogue, and the cor- 
ruptionist. They are still too often swayed by tradition and 
prejudice. 

It may be true, as some maintain, that reform is now. 

'Various plans have been proposed in recent years to meet this: 
situation, such as that of Irving Fisher and that of Ford and Edison. 
The similarity of the latter to the sub-treasury scheme of the Farmers.'" 
Alliance is very interesting. 



228 THE POPULIST MOVEMENT IN GEORGIA [228 

racing with catastrophe. Or perhaps, as others hold, re- 
form has proved its inadequacy, and more radical changes 
in the social order (to them more hopeful ones) are inevit- 
able. In so far as the advocates of change in the United 
States are still liberal or progressive rather than radical, 
they are aiming in the same general direction as were the 
Populists. For the latter, despite the red glare in which 
some of their contemporaries fancied them, were not radical 
in (the present sense of the word. Indeed they were battling 
in behalf of the competitive system against tendencies them- 
selves subversive of it. These they regarded as abuses 
rather than inherent defects. They believed that the gov- 
ernment could and should correct them. It should extend 
its control over business, restrain the oppressor and aid the 
oppressed; it should even own and operate such public utili- 
ties as the railroads; but all this was to give the honest in- 
dividual freer play and a fairer chance under the existing 
order. Whatever hopes such ideals may hold for the future, 
their prevalence among the masses today is due to no small 
extent to the Populists. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Political Backgeound 

Avery, I. W., History of Georgia, 1850-188 1. N. Y., 1881. The fullest 
account yet written of any period of Georgia history. Almost en- 
tirely political. A mine of information', but strongly biased. Written 
largely as a defense and a eulogy of Joseph E. Brown. 

Brooks, R. P., History of Georgia. Boston, 1913. Public school text 
book. 

Brown, W. G., The Lower South in American History. N. Y., 1903. 
•Chapter vi touches on the political situation in the Solid South in 
the Populist era. 

Bryant, J. E'., Address to the Republicans of the First Congressional 
District of Georgia. Savannah, 1875. Pamphlet, in N. Y. Pub. Lib. 

Evans, Lawton B., A History of Georgia for Use in Schools. N. Y. 
and N. O., 1898, 1903 and later eds. 

Felton, Mrs. W. H., Memoirs of Georgia Politics. Atlanta, 1911. 
Written by the wife of Georgia's arch-Independent in the seventies 
and eighties and a leader of the Populists in the nineties. Despite 
its strong bias, it contains a wealth of material which students 
of Georgia history and of Solid South politics should not overlook. 

, Country Life in Georgia. Atlanta, 1919. 

Fielder, Herbert, Life and Times of Joseph E. Brown. Springfield, 
Mass., 1883. A vindication. 

Garner, J. W., editor. Studies in Southern History and Politics. N. Y., 
1914. A cooperative work written by specialists. Valuable for 
interpretation. 

Harris, Joel (!3iandler ("Uncle Remus"), Henry W. Grady: His Life, 
Writings and Speeches. N. Y., 1890. 

Herbert, H. A., editor. Why the Solid South? 18^. 

Hill, Benj. H., Jr., Senator Benjamin H. Hill: His Life, Writings and 
Speeches. Atlanta, 1893. 

Johnston, Richard M. and Browne, W. H., Life of Alexander H. 
Stephens. Phila., 1878. 

Knight, Lucian Lamar, A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians. 

N. Y. and Chicago, 1917, 6 vols. The most valuable general work 

on Georgia history and biography. The material is drawn largely 

from newspapers, state archives, and works like Avery. The author 

229] 229 



230 BIBLIOGRAPHY [230 

is superintendent of state archives. The history is mostly political. 

Documented. Eulogistic. Gives slight attention to dissenting 

movements like Populism. 
Phillips, U. B., Life of Robert Toombs. N. Y., 1913. The best bi- 
ography of Toombs. 
Phillips, U. B., editor, Correspondence of Stephens, Toombs and Cobb, 

1913. 
Small, iSamuel W;., A Stenographic Report of the Proceedings of the 

Georgia Constitutional Convention . . . 1877. Atlanta, 1877. Very 

valuable for a study of the political and economic ideas of prominent 

Georgians at that time. 
Smith, Chas. H., School History of Georgia. Boston, 1893. 
Stovall, Pleasant A., Life of Robert Toombs. N. Y., 1892. 
Thompson, C. Mildred, Reconstruction in Georgia, Economic, Social, 

Political, 1865-1872. N. Y., 1915. The best treatise on the subject. 

Scholarly, fair, interesting. Contains valuable bibliography. 
Thompson, J. Holland, The New South: A Chronicle of Social and 

Industrial Evolution (Chronicles of America Series). New Haven, 

1919. An interesting brief account of the main currents in Southern 

life since Reconstruction. 
Tourgee, A. W., "Shall White Minorities Rule?" in Forum, vol. vii, 

pp. 143-15S, Apr., 1889. 
Watterson, Henry, " The Solid South," in North American Review, 

vol. cxxviii, p. 47, Jan., 1879. 
Weeks, S. B., " History of Negro Suffrage in the South," in Political 

Science Quarterly, vol. ix, pp. 671-703, Dec, 1894. 
(For other titles on the color line in politics and other problems 
brought over to more recent times, see Aftermath, infra.) 

Economic Background 

Atkinson, Edw., " The True Meaning of Farm Mortgage Statistics," in 
Forum, vol. xvii, pp. 310-325, May, 1894. A conservative Vxevi of 
the mortgage situation in the eighties and nineties with special 
reference to the West. The bulk of the mortgages are said to 
have represented progress ajnd thrift, with overexpansion in some 
localities, and not a grievance. 

, Development of the Resources of the Southern States, i8g8. 

Pamphlet. 

Bankers' Monthly, " The Banking System in Georgia,'' vol. xlviii, p. 357. 

Banks, E. M., The Economics of Land Tenure in Georgia. N. Y., 1905. 
A monograph on land-tenure movements in the state, 1865-1905. 
Traces the rise of share cropping, the Hen system, etc. 

, " Tendencies among Georgia Farmers," in South Atlantic Quarterly, 



23 1 J BIBLIOGRAPHY 23 1 

vol. iii, p. 109, Apr., 1904. (Largely an excerpt from his Economics 

of Land Tenure. 
Bemis, E. W., "'Discontent of the Farmer," in Journal of Political 

Economy, vol. i, pp^ 192-213, March, 1893. Sympathetic. 
Brooks, R. P., The Agrarian Revolution in Georgia, 1865-1912. iMadison, 

Wis., 1914. Covers largely the same field as Banks {supra), but is 

fuller and more satisfactory. 
Carlisle, J. G., " The Tariff and the Farmer," in Forum, vol. viii, pp. 

475-4188, Jan., 1890. The author was one of the Democratic leaders 

in the tariff-reform movement, later Secretary of the Treasury 

under Cleveland. 
Coutts, W. A., "Agricultural Depression in the United States," in- 

Publications of the Michigan Political Science Assn., vol. ii, no. 6, 

Apr., 1897. Scholarly. 
Davis, C Wood, " Why the Farmer is Not Prosperous," in Forum, vol. 

ix, pp. 231-241, April, 1890. Valuable, but adheres to traditional 

view of overproduction. 
— — . " The Farmer, the Investor and the Railway,'' in Arena, vol. iii, 

pp. 291-313, Feb., 1691. Sympathetic. 
Emerick, C. F., "An Analysis of the Agricultural Discontent in the 

United States," in Pol. Sci. Qty., vol. xi, pp. 433-463, 601-639; vol. 

xii, pp. 93-127, Sep., i8g6-March, 1897. A scholarly treatise. 
Gleed, C. S., " True Significance of the Western Unrest," in Forum, 

vol. xvi, pp. 251-260, Oct., 1893. ■ 
Hammond, M. B., The Cotton Industry: an Essay in American Economic 

History. Ithaca, N. Y., 1897. A classic by a leading authority. 
, " The Southern Farmer and the Cotton Question," in Pol. Sci. 

Qty., vol. xii, pp. 450475. 
Holmes, Geo. K., " The Peons of the South," in Annals of American 

Academy of Political and Social Science, Sep., 1893, pp. 265-274. A 

good description of the lien system. 
, "A Decade of Mortgages," in Annals of Amer. Acad., vol. iv, 

pp. 904-918, May, 1894. Based on Eleventh Census. 
Kelley, Wm. D., The Old South and the New. N. Y., 1888. Observa- 
tions of economic and social changes. 
Lauck, W. Jett, The Causes of the Panic of 1893. Boston and N. Y., 

1907. Hart, Schaffner and Marx prize essay. Concludes that the 

silver-purchase clause of the Sherman Act and fear that the gold 

standard might be abandoned were responsible. 
Laughlin, J. Lawrence, " Causes of Agricultural Unrest," in Atlantic 

Monthly, vol. Ixxviii, pp. 577-585, Nov., 1896. Author was a leading 

conservative on the money question. 
Maitland, W., "The Ruin of the Farmer," in Nineteenth Century, vol. 

xxxii, pp. 733-743, Nov., rSpa. 



232 BIBLIOGRAPHY [232 

Mitchell, Wesley C, Business Cycles. Berkeley, Cal., 1913. Contains 
discussion of the panic and depression' in the nineties, by a recog- 
nized authority. 

Morgan, W. S., " The Panic of 1893," in Tom Watson's Magazine, vol. i, 
p. 345. A Populistic view. Holds the money power responsible. 

Nesbitt, R. T., Georgia, a Fair Field for Home Seekers and Investors, 
Atlanta, iSpS- 

Otken, Chas. H., The Ills of the South; or Related Causes Hostile to- 
the General Prosperity of the Southern People. N. Y., 1894. 
Throws interesting light on the "anaconda" mortgage system 
and other economic ills. The writer, who seems to have had little 
interest in the political situation, is dispassionate and nonpartisan. 

Peters, A. H., " The Depression of Farming Lands," in Qty. Journ. of 
Ec., vol. vi, pp. 18-33, Oct., 1889. 

Poe, Clarence H., " Enormous Wastes in Cotton Farming," in South 
Atlantic Qty., vol. v, pp. 128-133, Apr., 1906. 

, Cotton; Its Cultivation, Marketing, Manufacture, and the Problems 

of the Cotton World. 1906. 

Rusk, J. M., " The Duty of the Hour," in North American Review,. 
vol. clii, p. 243, April, 18511. The writer, who was Secretary of 
Agriculture under Benj. Harrison, lamented the failure of the non- 
farming classes to appreciate agrarian troubles. 

Schmeckebier, L. F., " Taxation in Georgia," in Johns Hopkins Univ. 
Studies, vol. xviii, pp. 217 et seq., Jan.-Apr., 1900. 

Veblen, Thorstein, " The Price of Wheat since 1867," in Journ. of 
Pol. Ec, vol. i, pp. 68-103, Dec, 1892. 
(Many of the works listed in the next section also bear upon the 

economic causes of the movement.) 

The Fakmers' Alliance and the People's Party 

Allen, E. A., Labor and Capital. 1891. Discusses agrarian grievances 

and gives brief accounts of various agricultural organizations. 

Popular. 
Ashby, N. B., The Riddle of the Sphinx. Des Moines, 1890. The 

farmers' troubles and the remedies proposed by the Alliances. 

Historical sketches of the agrarian orders with special emphasis 

upon the Northwestern Alliance. Popular. 
Becker, Carl, " Kansas," in Turner Essays, 1910. 

Bland, T. A., People's Party Shot and Shell. Pamphlet, in Lib. of Cong. 
Bliss, C. H., The Populist Compendium. 1894. In Lib. of Cong. 
Blood, F. G., Handbook and History of the Farmers' Alliance. Popular. 

In Lib. of Cong. 
Bryan, William J., The First Battle. Chicago, 1897. Collection of 

speeches. 



233] BIBLIOGRAPHY 233 

Buck, Solon J., The Granger Movement: a Study of Agricultural 
Organization and Its Political, Economic and Social Manifestations, 
1870-18S0 (Harvard Historical Studies). Cambridge, Mass., 1913. 
One of the best monographs in the field of recent American history, 
by a leading authority on the farmers' movement. The concluding 
chapter treats the Alliance and the People's Party briefly. The 
writer is sympathetic but not biased. Gives excellent bibliography. 

, The Agrarian Crusade: a Chronicle of the Parmer in Politic^ 

(Chronicles of America Series). New Haven, 1920. Much less 
thorough than the Granger Movement by the same author, but an 
interesting survey of the Granger, Greenback, and Populist 
movements. 

Chamberlain, H. iR., The Farmers' Alliance; What It Aims to Accomplish. 
N. Y., 1891. A brief treatise by a reporter on staff of the New 
York Sun. 

(Qark, E. P.), " Populism in Colleges," in Nation, vol. Ixv, p. 412. 

, " Populism in the Saddle," in Nation, vol. Ixx, p. 372. 

Diggs, A. L., " The Farmers' Alliance and Some of Its Leaders," in 
Arena, vol. v, April, 1892. 

Drew, F. M., " The Present Farmers' Movement," in Pol. Sci. Qty., 
vol. vi, pp. 282-310, Jan., 1891. Sympathetic, scholarly. 

Dunning, N. A., editor. The Farmers' Alliance and Agricultural Digest. 
Washington, 1891. Popular. 

, The Philosophy of Price. Washington, 1890. The quantity theory. 

Farmers' State Alliance of Georgia, Official Proceedings, third annual 
session, Aug. 19-21, 1890. Contains constitution and by-laws. In 
Lib. of Cong. 

Garland, Hamlin, " The Alliance Wedge in Congress," in Arena, vol. 
v, pp. 447-457, March, 1892. Good characterizations of Alliance 
Congressmen and Senators. 

Gleed, J. W., " Is New York More Civilized than Kansas ? " in Forum, 
vol. xvii, pp. 217-234, Apr., 1894. Answer to the view of the New 
York Evening Post, " We don't want any more states tmtil we can 
civilize Kansas." 

Harvey, W. H., Coin's Financial School. 1894. Free-silver propaganda 
in the form of a simple catechism. Was very popular in the 
mid-nineties. 

Haynes, Fred E., Third Party Movements since the Civil War, with 
Special Reference to Iowa. Iowa City, 1916. A valuable compilation 
of material, well documented, but not very well digested. 

, James Baird Weaver. Iowa City, 1919. A useful study. Con- 
tains numerous excerpts from Weaver's speeches and from con- 
temporary newspapers and periodicals, interesting to the student 
of Populism. 



234 BIBLIOGRAPHY [234 

— — , " The New Sectionalism," in Qty. Journ. of Ec, vol. x, pp. 269-29S, 

April, 1856. Shows relative strength of the People's Party in the 

various states, 1892-94. 
Howard, W. M., The American Plutocracy. N. Y., 1895. Vehemently 

Populistic. 
Independent, " The Farmers' Alliance in the South," July S, 1890. 
Lloyd, H. D., " The Populist National Convention of l^," in Review 

of Reviews, vol. xiv, p. 268. 
McVey, Frank L., " The Populist Movement," in Economic Studies, 

vol. i, pp. 133-209, Aug., 1896. A superficial account, strongly biased 

against the movement. Valuable for an extensive list of references 

to current newspapers and magazines. 
Morgan, J. T., "(Danger of the Farmers' Alliance," in Forum, vol. xii, 

pp. 399-409, Nov., 1891. 
Morgan, W. S., History of the Wheel and Alliance, and the Impending 

Revolution. Third ed., St. Louis, 1891. Probably the best con- 
temporary account of the rise of the Southern Alliance. iContains 

biographical sketches of leaders. Book II is a defense of the 

Alliamce program. 
National Economist, pub., Handbook of Facts and Alliance Information. 

Pamphlet, in Lib. of iCong. " Facts " are badly twisted. 
National Economist, " Georgia Desperate," Sep. 10, 1892. 
— — , " Watson Persecuted," Aug. 27, iSg2. 
Peflfer, W. A, The Parmer's Side: His Troubles and Their Remedy. 

N. Y., 1891. The author was a Populist Senator from Kansas. 
— — , " The Farmers' Defensive Movement," in Forum, vol. viii, pp. 

464-473, Dec, 1889. 
— ' — , " The Mission of the Populist Party," in North American Review, 

vol. clvii, p. 66s, Dec, 1893. 
, " The Passing of the People's Party,'' in N. Am. Rev., vol. clxvi, 

pp. 12-23, Jan., 1898. 
Post, C. C, " The Sub-Treasury Plan,'' in Arena, vol. v, pp. 342-353, 

Feb., i8g2. 
Public Opinion, " The Alliance and Its Program," vol. ix, pp. 167, 216, 

241, 361, 386, 408; vol. X, pp. 169, 321, 609; vol. xi, p. 26. 
Tibbies, T. H., " The Populist Record in Congress," Watson's Jeffer- 

sonian, vol. i, p. 38s. 
Tracy, Frank B., " Menacing Socialism in the Western States," in 

Forum, vol. xv, pp. 332-342, May, 1893.. A near-sighted view 

through red spectacles. 
— < — , " Rise and Doom of Populism,'' in Forum, vol. xvi, p. 240, Oct., 

1893. The writer held that the People's Party performed a valuable 

service in drawing a large element of the socialisticajly inclined 

away from the Socialist party and into a political maelstrom. 



^35] BIBLIOGRAPHY 235 

Walker, C. S., "The Farmers' Alliance," in Andover Review, vol. xiv, 

pp. 127-140, Aug., 1890. 
, " The Farmers' Movement," in Annals of Amer. Acad., vol. iv, 

pp. 790-7^, Mar., 1894. 
Watson, Thos. E., Life and Speeches of Thomas E. Watson. Nashville, 

Tenn., igo8. 
; People's Party Campaign Book, " Not a Revolt, It Is a Revolution." 

Washington, 1892. 

, Political and Economic Handbook. Thomson, Ga., 1916. 

, " The People's Party's Appeal," in Independent, vol. Ivii, p. 829, 

Oct. 13, 1904. 
, " Why I Am a Populist," in Rev. of Rev., vol. xxxviii, pp. 303-306, 

Sep., 1908. 
Weaver, James B., A Call to Action. 1891. A statement of Weaver's 

principles, used as a Populist rallying cry for the campaign of 1892. 
, " The Threefold Contention of Industry," in Arena, vol. v, p. 427, 

March, 1892. The three great problems were " land, money and 

transportation." 
White, Horace, Coin's Financial Fool. 1896. An answer to Harvey's 

Coin's Financial School. 
White, Trumbull, ed.. Silver and Gold; or Both Sides of the Shield: A 

Symposium of the Views of All Parties on the Currency Question. 

189s. 
Williams, R. H., " Populism as an Honest Effort for the iSecuring of 

Better Conditions," in American Magazine o.f Civics, vol. vii, p. 193. 

Aftermath 

Caffey, F. G., " Suffrage Limitations at the South," in Pol. Sci. Qty., 

vol. XX, pp. 53-67, Mar., 1905. 
Clarke, George Herbert, " Georgia and the Chaingang," in Outlook, vol. 

Ixxxii, p. 73, Jan. 13, 1906. 
De Witt, Benj. P., The Progressive Movement. N. Y., 1915. 
Graves, John Temple, " Georgia Pioneers the Prohibition Crusade," in 

Cosmopolitan, vol. xlv, pp. 83-90, June, 1908. 
Independent, " The Election in Georgia,'' vol. Ixi, p. 526, Aug. 30, igo6. 
— — ; " Georgia's Example to the Nation," vol. Ixiv, p. 162, Jan. 16, igo8. 
McKelway, A. J., "State Prohibition in Georgia and the South," in 

Outlook, vol. Ixxxvi, p. 947, Aug. 31, 1907. 
, " The Convict Lease System in Georgia," in Outlook, vol. xc, 

pp. 67-72, Sep. 12, 1908. 
, " Suffrage in Georgia," in Outlook, vol. Ixxxvii, pp. 63-66, Sep. 14, 

1907; vol. xc, p. 507, Nov. 7, 1908. 
Mims, Edwin, "The Independent Voter in the iSouth," in South Atlantic 

Quarterly, vol. v, pp. 1-7, Jam., 1906. 



236 BIBLIOGRAPHY [236 

Murphy, E. G., Problems of the Present South. N. Y., 1904. (Especially 
concerned with the problems of education, child labor, and the negro. 

Nation, " Georgia Disfranchisement," vol. Ixxxv, p. 113, Aug. 8, 1907. 

Ogg, Frederick A., National Progress, 1907-1917 (American Nation 
series). N. Y., 1918. 

Outlook, " Government by Commission in Georgia," vol. Ixxxvii, p. 2, 
Sep. 7, 1907. 

• , " The End of the Convict Lease System in Georgia," vol. xc, p. 

238, Oct. 3, 1908. 

■ . " Georgia's Convict Lease Law," vol. xc, p. 295. 

Poe, C. H., "Suffrage Restriction in the South; Its Causes and Its 
Consequences," in N. Am. Rev., vol. clxxv, pp. 534 et seq., 1^02. 

Quick, H., " Hoke Smith and the Revolution in Georgia," in Reader, 
vol. X, p. 241, Aug., 1907. 

Sweeney, C. P., " Bigotry in the South ; Anti-Catholic Prejudice," in 
Nation, vol. cxi, p. 585, Nov. 24, 1920. 

(Symposium), "The New iSouth," in Annals of Amer. Acad., 1910. 

Thompson, J. Holland, From the Cotton Fields to the Cotton Mills, 1906. 

White, Melvin J., " Populism in Louisiana during the Nineties," in 
Miss. Valley Histl. Rev., vol. v, pp. 3-19, June, 1918. Chiefly con- 
cerned with political consequences. 

General and Miscellaneous Works 
The following touch upon the subject from various angles: 
Andrews, E. B., The United States in Our Own Times. N. Y., 1903. 
Beard, Chas. A., Contemporary American History, 1877-1913. N. Y., 1914, 
Bryce, James, The American Commonwealth. N. Y., 1888 and later eds. 

2 vols. Vol. II contains an excellent discussion by an able observer 

of political conditions in the United States on the eve of the Populist 

movement. 
Butler, Benj. F., Butler's Book. Boston, 1892. Interesting for radical 

views on the money question. 
Qeveland, Grover, Presidential Problems. N. Y., 1904. 
Commons, John R. and associates, History of Labor in the United States. 

N. Y., 1918. 2 vols. A cooperative work directed by a recognized 

authority. 
Croly, Herbert, Marcus Alonzo Hanna, His Life and Work. N. Y., 1912. 

Throws interesting light on national politics in the nineties. 
Dewey, Davis R., National Problems, 1885-1897 (American Nation 

series). N. Y., 1907. 

, Financial History of the United States. N. Y., 1915. 

Ely, Richard T., The Labor Movement in America. Revised ed., N. Y., 

191S. 
Fisher, Irving, Why the Dollar Is Shrinking. N. Y., 1914. 



237] BIBLIOGRAPHY 237 

, Stabilizing the Dollar. N. Y., 1920. 

Hepburn, A. B., A History of Currency in the United States. N. Y., 

1915. 
Hurlin, Ralph G., " The Course of United States Wholesale Prices for 

100 Years,'' in Annalist, Apr. 11, 1921. 
Leavitt, S., Our Money Wars. Boston, 1896. Unorthodox. 
Mitchell, Wesley C., History of the Greenbacks. Chicago, 1903. 

Authoritative. 
Noyes, Alex. D., Forty Years of American Finance. N. Y., 1909. 

Conservative. 
Ostrogorski, M., Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties. 

N. Y., 1902. 2 vols. Contains interesting allusions to the People's 

Party. 
Peck, Harry Thurston, Twenty Years of the Republic, 1885-1903. 

N. Y., 1906. One of the most interesting and illuminating histories 

of the period. 
Powderley, T. V., Thirty Years of Labor. Columbus, O., 1889. The 

author was grand master workman of the Knights of Labor in 

the eighties and early nineties. 
iRhodes, James Ford, History of the United States from Hayes to 

McKinley. N. Y., 1919. Deals mostly with the surface political 

facts. Shows little appreciation of the economic background. 
Simons, A. M., Social Forces in American History. N. Y., 191 1. An 

economic interpretation by a socialistic writer. 
Taussig, F. W., The Silver Situation in the United States. N. Y., 1896. 

. Tariff History of the United States. N. Y., 1914. 

Turner, Frederick J., The Frontier in American History. N. Y., 1920. 
Usher, E. B., The Greenback Movement of 1875-1884 and Wisconsin's 

Part in It. Milwaukee, 191 1. 
Walker, Francis A., International Bimetalism. 1896. 
Wells, D. A., Recent Economic Changes and Their Effect on the Pro- 
duction and Distribution of Wealth and the Weil-Being of Society. 

N. Y., 1889. 
Woodburn, Jas. A., Political Parties and Party Problems in the United 

States. N. Y., 1914. 
, Life of Thaddeus Stevens. Indianapolis, 1913. Contains a criticism 

of Civil War finances sympathetic toward the greenback position. 

Public Documents and Other iRefeeence Works 

United States : Congressional Record, Senate and House Documents, 
Reports of 'Committees, of the various Departments (especially that of 
Agriculture) , of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Census OflSce, 
€tc. The Census of 1890 is especially full on farm tenancy, proprietor- 



238 BIBLIOGRAPHY [23^ 

ship, indebtedness, etc. The famous Aldrich Report on Wholesale 
Prices, Wages and Transportation is in Senate Reports, S2d 'Cong., 2d 
Sess., 1892-93. J. \D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents 
(Washington, 1898, 10 vols.) is also valuable. For biographical sketches 
of Senators and Congressmen, see Biographical Congressional Dictionary, 
For accounts of Presidential nominating conventions and for party plat- 
forms, see Edw. iS tan wood, A History of the Presidency (N. Y., 1898, 
1906; vol. ii, 1912). 

Georgia: Senate and House Journals, Reports of Committees and of 
the State Department heads, especially those of the Secretary of Agri- 
culture, the Comptroller-General, and the Treasurer. Occasionally a 
volume of biographical sketches of the current State House officials 
and members of the General Assembly is issued. For example, A. S. 
Abrams, Manual of the State of Georgia (Atlanta, 1872) and Jas. P^ 
Harrison, pub., Georgia's General Assembly, 1880-81 (Atlanta, 1882) 
are in the N. Y. Pub. Lib. Numerous biographical sketches of prominent 
Georgians are to be found in Knight (see " Political Background,"' 
supra). 

Such viTorks as the World an^ the Tribune Almanacs ; Appleton's- 
Annual Cyclopedia; National Cyclopedia of American Biography ; L. H. 
Bailey, Cyclopedia of American Agriculture (N. Y., 1907-1909) ; South- 
ern Historical Publication Society, The South in the Building of th^^ 
Nation (1909-1913, 13 vols.) are also important sources. 

As a bibliographical aid, the student of Georgia history should not 
overlook R. P. Brooks, A Preliminary Bibliography of Georgia History 
(Athens. Ga., 1910). A number of other guides are listed in C. Mildred 
Thompson, Reconstruction in Georgia. 

NEV^fSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS 

The Library of Congress contains files of the Atlanta Constitution 
and the Savannah Morning News since 1871 and 1876 respectively; of 
the Atlanta Journal, beginning Jan. i, i8t)8; of several other Georgia 
dailies, beginning 1898; of the National Economist (organ of the South- 
ern Alliance), Sep. 19, 1891-Sep. 9, 1893; of the Peoples Party Paper,. 
Nov. 26, i89'i-.Sep. 14, 1894. Mr. Watson has a nearly complete set of 
the People's Party Paper through 1896. The Carnegie Library of 
Atlanta and the 'Georgia State Library have the Constitution complete 
and the Journal since 1896 and 1898 respectively. The missing volumes 
of the latter may be had at the Journal office. There is a complete file 
of the Southern Cultivator in the office of the Cultivator, Atlanta. For 
other publications devoted to the interests of the farmers of the country,, 
see Buck, Granger Movement, pp. 321-329. 



239] BIBLIOGRAPHY 239 

Private (Collections 

Ex-Governor W. J. Northen left a large collection of clippings and 
correspondence which is now in the possession of his daughter, Miss 
Annie Bell Northen, Atlainta. The clippings are drawn from a wide 
variety of sources, including daily and weekly newspapers, agricultural 
journals. Alliance and Grange publications, and the like. iMost of them 
are carefully identified, but, unfortunately, some are undated Not all 
of the correspondence has yet been placed at the disposal of the student. 

Senator Thomas E. Watson also has preserved a large collection. 
It is of much the same character as that of ex-Governor Northen. The 
volume of correspondence accessible to the student is larger, but some 
documents are still in the sanctum sanctorum. 

Mrs. W. ,H. Felton, Cartersville, Ga., has kept voluminous scrap-books 
which have formed the basis of her Memoirs and other writings. 

As these and other collections become more fully available, new light 
will doubtless be thrown upon some phases of the subject by the future 
historian. 



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BY 

W. W. WILLOUGHBY 

Professor of Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University 

Octavo. 435 pages. Price $3.00 

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Treaties or Resolutions were adopted. In an Appendix 
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Inasmuch as, with the exception of a part of a single 
session which was devoted to the situation in Siberia, the 
entire work of the Conference so far as it dealt with polit- 
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efifect, a comprehensive account of the work of that Con- 
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respect there is given in the Appendix the statements 
made — there were no discussions — with reference to the 
Siberian situation. 

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VOLXraiB I, 1891-92. 2nd Ed., 1897. 396 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50. 

1. Tlie Divorce Problem. A Study In Statistics. 

By Walter F. Willcox, Ph.D. Price, 75 cents. 

a. The History of Tariff Administration In the United States, from Colonial 
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VOLUME II, 1892-93. (See note on last page.) 

1. t^] The S!conomlcs of the Susslan Village. 

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5. [6] Bankruptcy. A Study In Comparative Xieglslatlon. 

« By Samuel W, DuNscOMB, Jr., Ph.D. {^ot sold separaUty.) 

8. [7] Special Assessments ; A Study In Municipal Finance. 

By Victor Rosbwater, Ph.D. Second Edition, 1898. Price, $i.oe. 

VOLUME III, 1893. 465 pp. (See note on last page.) 

1. [8] *Hlstory of Elections In American Colonies. 

iJy Cortland F, Bishop, Ph.D. {Not sold separately.) 
3. [9] The Commercial Policy of England toward the American Colonies. 

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VOLUME IV, 1893-94. 438 pp. (See note on last page.) 

1. [10] Plnanclal History of Virginia. 

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3. [Ill* The Inheritance Tax. ByMAx WssT.Ph.D. Second Edition.igoS. Frice.$2oa. 
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VOLUME V. 1895-96. 498 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50. 

X. [13] Double Taxation In the United States. 

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S. [14] The Separation of Governmental Powers. 

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8. [16] Municipal Government In Michigan and Ohio. 

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VOLUME VI, 1896. 601 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50 ; Paper covers, $4.00. 

tl6] History of Proprietary Government In Pennsylvania. 

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VOLUME VII, 1896. 512 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50. 

1. [17] History of the Transition from Provincial to Commonwealth Gov- 
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«• [18]*Speculatlonon the Stock: and Produce Exchanges of tlie United States 

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VOLUME VIII, 1896-98. 551 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [19] The Struggle betw^een President Johnson and Congress over Recon- 
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8. [30] Recent Centralizing Tendencies In State Educational Admlnlstra^ 
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8. [81] The Abolition of Privateering and the Declaration of Paris. 

By Francis R. Stark, LLP, Ph.D. Price. >i 00. 

4. [33] Public Administration In Massachusetts. The Eolation of Central 

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VOLUME IX, 1897-98. " 617 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [33] 'English Xocal Government of To-day. A Study of the Relations of 
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a. [34] German Wage Theories. A History of their Development. 

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VOLUME X, 1898-99. 409 pp. Price, clotb, $3.50. 

1. [86] Sympatlietio Strikes and Sympathetic Lockouts. 

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S. [37] "'Rhode Island and the Formation of Ihe Union. 

By Fhank Greene Bates, Ph.D. Price, «t,5o. 

3. [38]. Centralized Administration ot Iilquor Laws In the American Com-. 

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VOLUME XI, 1899. 495 pp. Price, cloth, 4.00; paper covers, $3.50. 

: t9] The Growth of Cities. By Adna Feeein Weber Ph.D. 

VOLUME XII, 1899-1900. 586 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

^'■. [30] History and Functions of Central Labor Unions. 

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S3. [31.] Colonial Immigration Law^s. 

By Edward Emerson Proper, A.M. Price, 75 cents, 
a, [32] History of Military Pension Legislation in the United States. 

By William Henry Glasson, Ph.D. Price, ^1.00. 

4. [33] History of the Theory of Sovereignty since Rousseau. 

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VOLUME XIII, 1901, 570 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [34] TheLegalProperty Relations of Married Parties. 

By IsiDOR LoEB, Ph.D. Price, |i.so. 
a. [35] Political Natlvlsm In New York State. 

Li' Louis Dow Scisco, Ph.D. Price, $2.00, 
3. [38] The Reconstruction of Georgia. By Edwin C. Woolley, Ph,D. Price, Ji.cxj. 

VOLUME XIV, 1901-1902. 576 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

J.. [37] Loyallsm in New York during the American Revolution. 

By Alexander Clarence Flick, Ph.D. Price, ^.oo. 
8. [38] The Economic Theory of Riskand insurance. 

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3. [39] The Eastern Question! AStudy in Diplomacy. 

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VOLUME XV, 1902. 427 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50; Paper covers. $3.00. 

[40] Crime in Its Relation to Social Progress. By Arthur Cleveland Hall, Ph.D. 

VOLUME XVI. 1902-1903. 547 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [41] The Past and Present of Commerce in Japan. 

By Yetaro Kinosita, Ph.D. Price, I1.50. 

5. [43] The Employment of Women in the Clothing Trade. 

By Mabel Hubd Willet. Ph.D. Price, ^1.50. 
8. [43] The Centralization of Administration in Ohio. 

By Samuel P. Orth, Ph.D. Price, fi.so. 

VOLUIVEE XVII, 1903. 635 pp. Price, cloth. $4.00. 

1. [44] 'Centralizing Tendencies In the Administration of Indiana. 

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8. [45] Principles of Justice in Taxation. By Stephen F. Weston, Ph.D. Price, ifa.oo. 

VOLUME XVIII, 1903. 753 pp. Price, cloth. $4.50. 

1. [46] The Administration of Iowa. By Harold Martin Bowman, Ph.D. Price, ^i.so. 
a. [47] Tnrgot and the Six Edicts. By Robert P. Shepherd, Ph.D. Price, f 1,50. 

8, [48] Hanover and Prussia, 1795-1803. By Guy Stanton Ford, Ph.D. Price, $3.00. 

VOLUME XIX, 1903-1905. 588 pp. Price, cloth, $1.00. 

1. [4 9] Joslah Tucker, Eccnomlst. By Waltp-j Eekest Clark, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 

2. [60] History and Criticism of the Labor Theory of Value in EnBllsh Polit- 

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3. [5 J] Trade Unions and the Law in New York. 

By Geokoe Gorham Groat, Ph.D. Price, $1.00. 

VOLUME XX, 1904. 514 pp. Price, cloth. $3.50. 

1. [53] The Office of the Justice of the Peace in England. 

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a. [53] A History of Military Government in Newly Acquircfl Terrltory'of 

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VOLUaiE XXI, 1904. 746 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [54] 'Treaties, their Making and Enforcement. 

By Samuel B. Crandall, Ph.D. Price. Ji.so. 
*. [55] The Sociology ofa New York City Block. 

By Thomas Jesse Jones, Ph.D. Price, ii.oo. 
3. [56] Pre-Malthuslan Doctrines of Popu atlon. 

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VOLUME XXII, 1905. 520 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50; paper covers, $3.00. 

[57] Tlie Historical Development of tlie Poor Law of Connecticut. 

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VOLUME XXm, 1905. 594 pp. Price, cloth. $4.00. 

1. [58] Tbe Economics of Liand Tenure In Georgia. 

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a, [59] Mistake In Contract. A Study In Comparative .Turlsprudence. 

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3. [60] Combination In the Mining Industry. 

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4. [61] The Bngllsh Craft Guilds and the Government. 

By Stella Kbambr. Ph.D. Price, ^1.00. 

VOLUME XXIV, 1905. 521 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00, 

1. [63] The Place of Magic In the Intellectual History of Europe. 

By Lynn Thorndikb, Ph.D. Price. $1.00, 
a. [63] The Ecclesiastical Edicts of the Theodoslan Code. 

By William K. Boyd, Ph.D. Price, ^i.oo. 
3. [64] *The International Position of Japan as a Great Povrer. 

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VOLUME XXV. 1906-07. 600 pp. (Sold only in Sets.) 

1. [65] *Munlclpal Control of PuWle TTtUltles. 

By O. L. Pond, Ph.D. {JVot sold separately. y 

5. [66] The Budget In the American Common-vrealths. 

By KuGENB E. Aggbr, Ph.D. Price, ^1.50. 
3. [67] The Finances of Cleveland. By Charles C. Williamson, Ph.D. Price, ^2.00. 

VOLUME XXVI, 1907. 559 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [68] Trade and Currency In Early Oregon. 

By Tames H. Gilbert, Ph.D. Price, ^i.oo. 
8. [69] liUther'sTabloTallj. By Pkbskrved Smith, Ph.D. Price, ^i.oo. 

3. [70] The Tobacco Industry In the tTnlted States. 

By Meyer Jacobstein, Ph.D. Price, %i 50. 

4. [71] Social Democracy and Population. 

By Alvan a. Tenney, Ph.D. Price, 75 cents. 

VOLUME XXVII, 1907. 578 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [73] The Economic Policy of Kobert Walpole. 

By NoRRis A. Bkisco. Ph.D. Price, ^i.sa 
3. [73] The United States Steel Corporation. 

By Abraham Berglund, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 
8. [74] The Taxation of Corporations In Massachusetts. 

By Harry G. Friedoxan, Ph.D. Price, ^1.50. 

VOLUME XXVIII, 1907. 564 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [75] DeWltt Clinton and the Origin of the Spoils System In New Yort. 

By Howard Lee McBain, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 
3. [76] The Development of the Legislature of Colonial Virginia. 

By Elmer I. Miller, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 
3. [77] The Distribution of Ownership. 

By J osEPH Harding Underwood, Ph.D. Price, jz.50. 



VOLUIilB XXIX, 1908. 703 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

•ly New England ToTvns. By An: 

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3. £79] New Hampshire as a Royal Province. 

By William H. Fey, Ph.D. Price, fo.oo. 

VOLUME XXX, 1908. 712 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50 ; Paper covers, $4.00. 

[80] The Province of New Jersey, 1664—1738. By Edwin P. Tanner, Ph.D. 

VOLUIilB XXXI, 1908. 575 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [81] Private Freight Cars and American Railroads. 

By L. D. H. Weld. Ph.D. Price, ?i.so. 
8. [83] Ohio before 1850. By Robert E. Chaddock, Ph.D. Price, J1.50. 

3. [83] Consanguineous Marriages In the American Population. 

C>- George B. Lours Arnbr, Ph.D. Price, 75 cents. 

4. [84] Adolphe Quetelet as Statistician. By Frank H. Hankins, Ph.D. Price, $1.25. 

VOLUME XXXII, 1908. 705 pp. Price, cloth, 4.50; paper covers, $4.00. 

85] The Enforcement of the Statutes of Laborers. 

By Bertha Havem Putnam, Ph.D. 

VOLUME XXXin, 1908-1909. 635 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [86] Factory Legislation In Maine. By E. Stagg Wbitin,A.B. Price, Ji.oo. 

8. [87] 'Psychological Interpretations of Society. 

By Michael M. Davis, Jr., Ph.D. Price, $2.00, 
8. [88 j *An Introduction to the Sourcejs relating to the Germanic Invasions. 

By Carlton J. H. Hayes, Ph.D. Price, f 1.50. 



VOLUME XXXIY, 1909. 628 pp. Price, clotb, $4.50. 

1. [89] Transportation and Industrial Bevelopinent In tlie Middle TV est. 

By William F. Gephakt, Ph.D. Price, |2.o*. 
S. [90] Social Beform and tbe Beformatlon. 

By Jacob Salwyn Schapiho, Ph.D. Price, ^i.as, 

B. [91] BesponslblUty lor Crime. By Philip A. Parsons, Ph.D. Price, $1.30. 

VOLUME XXXV. 1909. 568 pp. Price, clotli, $4.50. 

1. [9a] The Conflict over the Judicial Powers in tbe United States to 1870. 

By Charles Grovb Haines, Ph.D. Price, ^1,50, 
S. [93] A Stndy ot the Population of ManhattanTlIle. 

By Howard Brown Woolston, Ph.D. Price, $1.25. 
S. [94] 'BlToroe: A Study In Social Causation. 

By James P. Lichtenbbrgbr, Ph.D. Price, ^x.sa. 

VOLUME XXXVI, 1910. 542 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [951 *Recon8tructlon in Texas. By Charles William Raimsdell, Ph.D. Price, J2.50. 
IS* i96l * Til© Transition In "Virginia Irom Colony to Common wealth. 

By Charles Ramsdell Lingley, Ph.D. Price, ^x.50. 

VOLUME XXXVn, 1910. 606 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [97] Standards ol Reasonableness in liOoal Freight Discriminations. 

By John Maurice Clark, Ph.D. Price. {1.35, 
S. [98] Xiesal Development In Colonial Massachusetts. 

By Charles J. Hilkey, Ph.D. Frice,$i.25. 
8. [99] * Social and Mental Traits of the Negro. 

By Howard W. Odum, Ph.D. Priee, $i.aa, 

VOLUME XXXVin, 1910. 463 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50. 

1. [lOOl The Public Domain and Democracy. 

By Robert Tudor Hill, Ph.D. Price, ft.oo. 
S. [101] Orsanlsmlc Theories of the State. 

By Francis W. Cokeh, Ph.D. Price, ^i.Jo. 

VOLUME XXXIX, 1910-1911. 651 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [108] The Makine of the Balkan States. 

By William Smith Murrat, Ph.D. Price. $1.50. 

S. [103] Political History of Ne-w York State during the Period of the Civil 

TVar. By Sidney David Brummsr, Ph. D. Price, 3.00. 

VOLUME XL, 1911. 633 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [104] A Survey of Constitutional Development In China. 

By Hawkling L. Yen, Ph.D, Price, ^.oo. 
a. [105] Ohio Politics durluB the CIvU War Period. 

By George H. Porter. Ph.D. Price. $1.75. 
8. [106] The Territorial Basis of Government under the State Constitutions. 

By Alfred Zahtzinger Reed, Ph.D, Price,$i.7S. 

VOLUME XLI, 1911. 514 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50; paper covers, $3.00. 

[107] New Jersey as a Koyal Province. By Edgar Jacob Fisher, Ph. D. 

VOLUME XLII, 1911. 400 pp. Price, cloth, $3.00; paper covers, $2.50. 

[108] Attitude of American Courts In iLabor Cases. 

By George Gorham Groat, Ph.D. 

VOLUME XLin, 1911. 633 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [109] 'Industrial Causes of Consestlon of Population In Nevr Yorli City. 

By Edward Ewing Pratt. Ph.D. Price, $2.00. 
Z. [110) Education anA the Mores. By F. Stuart Chapin, Ph.D. Price, 7s cenu. 

8. [Ill] The British Consuls in the Confederacy. 

By MiLLEDGE L. BoNHAM, Jr., Ph.D. Price, $a.o«. 

VOLUMES XLIV and XLV, 1911. 745 pp. 
Price for the two volumes, cloth, $6.00 ; paper covers, $5.00. 

[lis and lis] The Economic Principles of Confucius and his School. 

By Chen Huan-Chahg, Ph.D. 

VOLUME XLVI, 1911-1912. 623 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [114] The Rloardlan Socialists. Bv Esther Lowenthal, Ph.D. Frlce.fi.oa 

». [116] Ibrahim Pasha, Grand Ylzler of iSnlelman, the Magnificent. 

By Hester Donaldson Jenkins, Ph.D. Price, fi.oo. 
it. [116] 'Syndicalism In France. 

Bv Louis Lbvihb, Ph.D. Secood edition, 191A, Price, ^1.50, 
4. [117] A HooBler Vlllaee. Bv Newell Leboy Sims, Ph.O. Price. 11.50, 



VOLUME ZLVII, 1912. 544 pp. Price, clotl, $4.00. 

J. 1118] The Politics of MlcMgau, 1865-1878, 

By Hakkisttb M. Dilui, Ph.D. Price, $3.00. 
S. [119] *Tlie TTnlted States Beet Sngar Industry and tbe Tariff. 

By Roy G. Blakby, Ph.D. Price, J2. 00. 

VOLiraiE XLVin, 1912. 493 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [ISO] Isldor of Seville. By Eknest Bebhaut, Ph. D. Price, Js.oo. 

S. [131] Progress and I7uIforniltylnCIiIld-I.abor legislation. 

By William Fielding Ogburn, Ph.D. Price, $1.75. 

VOLUME XLIX, 1912. 592 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [ISS] British Radicalism 1791-1797. By Walter Phelps Hall. Price, ^a.oo. 

3. [123] A Comparative Study of the liavr of Corporations. 

By Arthub K. Kuhn, Ph.D. Price, ^x.so. 

8. [184] *The Neero at Work In New York City. 

By George E. Hayhes, Ph.D. Price, Jr.25. 

VOLUME L, 1911. 481 pp. Price, c!otli, $4.00. 

1. [1S5] *The Spirit of Chinese Philanthropy. iBy Yai YueTso, Ph.D. Price, J1.00. 
S. [IS6] *The Allen In China. By Vi. Kyuin Wbllington Koo, Ph.D. Price, |2.so. 

VOLUME LI, 1912. 4to. Atlas. Price: cloth, $1.50; paper covers, $1.0% 

1. [137] The Sale of LlQuor In the South. 

By Lbohard S. Blakey, Ph.D. 

VOLUME LII, 1912. 489 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [1S8] 'Provincial and Xiocal Taxation In Canada. 

By Solomon Vinbberc, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 

9, [129] *The Distribution of Income. 

By Frank Hatch Strbtchtoff, Ph.D. Price, Ji.so, 
8. [130] *The ^Finances of Vermont. By Frbdbrick A. Wood, Ph.D. Price, $1.00. 

VOLUlffE LIII, 1913. 789 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50; paper, $4.00. 

[ IS 1] The Civil War and Reconstruction In Elorlda. By W. W. Davis, Ph. D. 

VOLUIi![B LIV, 1913. 604 pp. Price, cloth. $4.50. 

1. [138] * Privileges and Immunities of Citizens of the United States. 

By Arnold Johnson Libn, Ph.D, Price, 75 cents, 
S. [133] The Supreme Court and tTnconstltutlonal Legislation. 

By Blaine Free Moore, Ph.D. Price, fi.oo. 

8. [134] 'Indian Slavery in Colonial Times within the Present lilmits of the 

United States. By Almon Wheeler Lauber, Ph.D. Price, f 3.00, 

VOLUME LV, 1913. 665 pp. Price, cloth, $4,50. 

1. [ 135] *A Political History of the State of New York. 

By Homer A. Stbbbins, Ph.D. Price, ^.oo. 
a. [136] *The Early Persecutlonsof the Christians. 

By Leon H. Canvield, Ph.D. Price, ^t.50. 

VOLUME LVI, 1913, 406 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50. 

1. [137] Speculation on the New York Stock Exchange, 1904-1907. 

By Algernon Ashbukner Osborne. Price, $1.50. 
S. [138] The Policy of the United States towards Industrial Monopoly. 

By Oswald Whitman Knauth, Ph.D. Price, ja.oo. 

VGLUIHE IVII, 1914. 670 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [189] *The Civil Service of Great Britain. 

By Robert Moses, Ph.D, Price, $2.00. 
S. [140] The Financial History of New York State. 

By Don C. Sowers. Price, £2.50, 

VOLUME LVIII, 1914. 684 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50; paper, $4.00. 

[141] Beconstructlon In Nortli Carolina. 

By J. G. DC RouLHAC Hamilton, Ph.D, 

VOLUME LIX, 1914. 625 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [148] The Development of Modern Turkey by means of Its Press. 

By Ahmed £min, Ph.D. Price, Ji.oo, 
». [143] The System of Taxation in China, 1614-1911. 

By bHAO-KwAN Chen, Ph. D. Price,, ^z.00,. 
8. [1441 The Currency Problem In China. By Wen Pin Wei, Ph.D. Price, ^i.e;. 

4. 1 14:GJ 'Jewish ImmiKration to the United States. 

By Samuel Joseph, Ph.D, Price, $1.50^ 



VOLUME LX. 1914. 516 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [14:61 'Constantino the Great and Christianity. „ 

By Chuistopher Bbsh Colkman, Ph.D. Price, pi.oo. 
a. [147] The x;stabllshment ol Christianity and the Proscription ol Pa- 
ganism. By Maud Aline HuTTMAN, Ph.D. Price, J2.00. 

VOLUME LXI. 1914. 496 pp. Price, cloth, $400. 

1. [148] *The Railway Conductors: A Study in Organized Labor. 

By Edwin Clyde Kobbins. Price, Ci.so. 
a. [149] 'The PInances of the City ol New Tort. 

By Yin-Ch'u Ma, Ph.D. Price, t'-SO. 

VOLUME LXII. 1914. 414 pp. Price, cloth, $3.50. 

[150] The Jonrnal of the Joint Committee of Fifteen on Keconstrnctlon. 
39th Congress, 1865— 1867. By Benjamin B. Kendrick, Ph.D. Price,$3.oo. 

VOLUME LXIII. 1914. 561 pp. Price, cloth, $400. 

1. [151] Emlle Durkhelm's Contributions to Sociological Theory. 

By Charles £lm£R Gbhlkb, Ph.D. Price, |z.5o. 

8. [153] The Nationalization of Railways In Japan. 

By Toshiharu Wataeai, Ph.D. Price, ^1.25. 
3. [153] Population: A Study In Malthuslanlsm. 

By Warren S. Thompson, Ph.D. Price, $1.75. 

VOLUME LXIV. 1915. 646 pp. Price, cloth, $450. 

1. [154] *RecoiistructIon In Georgia. By C. Mildrbd Thompson, Ph.D. Price, 3.00. 

a. [155] *Tlie Review ol American Colonial Xieslslation by tlie Klne la 

Council. By ILLMER Beecher Russell, Ph.D. Price, $1.75. 

VOLUME LXV. 1915. 524 pp. Price, cloth, $4-00. 

1. [156] 'The Sovereign Council ol New Prance 

By Katmomd Du Bois Cahall, Ph.D. Price, (2.25. 

9. [157] *Sclentlllo Management (3rd. ed. 1932). 

By HoRACB B. Drury, Ph.D. Price, $*.oa. 

VOLUME LXVI. 1915. 655 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [158] *The Recognition Policy of the United States. 

By Julius GoEBEL, Jr., Ph.D. Price, ^.oo. 

2. [159] Railway Problems in China. By Chih Hsu, Ph.D. Price. $1.50. 

3. [160J *The Boxer Rebellion. By Paul H. Clements, Ph.D. Price, Ja.oo. 

VOLUME LXVII. 1916. 538 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [161] *Russlan Sociology. By Julius F. Hecker, Ph.D. Price, I2.50. 

a. [169] State Regulation ol Railroads In the South. 

By Maxwell Ferguson, A. M., LL.B. Price, ^1.75. 

VOLUME LXVIII. 1916. 518 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

[163] The Origins ol the Islamic State. By Philip K. Hitti, Ph.D. Price, (4.00. 

VOLUME LXIX. 1916. 489 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [164] Railway Monopoly and Rate Regnlatlon. 

By Robert J..McFall, Ph.D. Price, $2,00. 
a. [165] The Butter Industry In the United States. 

By Edward WiEST, Ph-D. Price, ^.00. 

VOLUME LXX. 1916. 540 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

[166] Mohammedan Theories ol Finance 

By Nicolas P. Agunides, Ph.D. Price, ^.oo. 

VOLUME LXXI. 1916. 476 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [167] The Commerce oIJLoulslana daring the French Regime, 1699— 1768. 

By N. M. Miller Sorret, Ph.D. Price, ^3.50. 

VOLUME LXXIL 1916. 542 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. '168] American Men ol Lietters: Their Nature and Nnrture. 

By Edwin Leaviit Clarke, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 
a. [169] The Tarlll Problem In China. By Chin Chd, Ph.D. Price, li.jo. 

8. 1170] The Marlfetlng of Perishable Pood Products. 

By A. B. Adams, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 



VOLUME LXXIII. 1917. 616 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

1. [171] *Tlie Social and Economic Aspects of the Chartist Movement. 

By Frank F. Rosenblatt, Ph.D. Price, fz.oo, 
8. [17a] *Tlie Decline ol the Chartist Movement. 

By Preston William Slosson, Ph.D. Price, ^e.cw. 
3. [173] Chartism and the Churches. By H. U. Faclknee, Ph.D. Price, ^1.15. 

VOLUME LXXIV. 1917. 546 pp. Price, cloth, $4,50. 

1. [174] The Rise of Ecclesiastical Control In Quebec. 

By Walter A. Riddell, Ph.D. Price, $1.75. 
3. [175] Political Opinion in Massachusetts during the Civil War and Ke- 
construotlon. By Edith Ellen Ware, Ph.D. Pnce, $1.75. 

3. [176] Collective Bargaining in the lilthosraphlc Industry. 

By H. E. Hoaglahd, Ph.D. Price, ^i.oo 

VOLUME LXXV. 1917. 410 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

An extra-lllnstrated and bound volume is published at $5.00. 
1. [177] New York as an Eighteenth Century Municipality. Prior to 1731. 

By Arthur Everett Peterson, Ph.D. Price, $2.00 
a. [178] STew Tort as an Eighteenth Century Municipality. 1731-1776. 

By George William Edwards, Ph.D. Price, ^2.00. 

VOLUME LXXVI. 1917. 489 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1. [179] *Economlc and Social History ol Chow^an County, North Carolina. 

By W. Scott Boyce, Ph.D. Price, ^2.50. 
3. [180] Separation of State and liOcal Kevenues In the United States. 

By Mabei Newcomer, Ph.D. Price, fl.75. 

VOLUME LXXVII. 1917. 473 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

[181] American Civil Church Law. By Carl Zollmann, LL.B. Price, $3.50. 

VOLUME LXXVIII. 1917. 647 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50. 

[183] The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution. 

By Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Ph.D. Price, I4.00. 

VOLUME LXXIX. 1917-1918. 535 pp. Price, cloth, $4,50, 

1. [183] Contemporary Theories ol TJn employment and XTnemployment 

Relief. By Frederick C. Mills. Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 

2. [184:] Tlxe Frencli Assembly of 1848 and American Constitutional Doo« 

trine. By Eugene Newton Curtis, Ph.D. Fricft, ^3.00. 

VOLUME LXXX. 1818. 448 pp. Price, cloth, $4-00. 

1. [1861 "Valuation and Kate Making. By Robert L. Hale, Ph.D. Price, Ji.so, 

8. [186] The Enclosure of Open fields In England. 

By Harriet Bradley, Ph.D. Price, fx.as. 

3. [187] The I.and Tax In China. By H. L. Huang, Ph.D. Price, (1.90. 

VOLUME LXXXI. 1918. 601pp. Price, cloth $4.50. 

1. [188] Social Iiife in Rome in the Time of Plautns and Terence. 

By Georgia W, Leffingwell, Ph.D. Price, f x.ss. 
3. [189] *Australlan Social Development. 

By Clarence H, Northcott, Ph.D. Price, ^.50. 
3. [190] *Factory Statistics and Industrial Patlgue. 

By Philip S. Florence, Ph.D. Price, {1.25. 

VOLUME LXXXn. 1918-1919. 576 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50, 

1. [191] Nevy England and the Bavarian Illnmlnati. 

By Vernon Stauffer, Ph.D. Price, $3.fW. 
3. [193] Resale Price Maintenance. By Claudius T. Murchison, Ph.D. Price, Ji. 50, 

VOLUME LXXXIII. 1919. 432 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

[193] The I. W. W. Second Edition, 1920. By Paul F. Brissendem, Ph.D. Price, fe.so. 

VOLUME LXXXIV. 1919. 534 pp. Price, cloth, $4.50 

1. [1941 The Royal Government In TIrglnIa, 1634-1775. 

By Percy Scott Flippin, Ph.D. Price, $3.00* 
3. [195] Hellenic Conceptions of Peace. ByWALLAcnE. Caldwell, Ph.D. Price,fi,as. 

VOLUME LXXXV. 1919. 450 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1, [196] The Religions Policy of the Bavarian Government dnrlne the 

Napoleonic Period. By Chester P. Higby, Ph.D. Price, 13.0a. 

3. [197] Pnblic Debts of China. By F. H. Huang, Ph.D. Price, »i.oo. 



VOLUME LXXXYI. 1919. 460 Qp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1198] The Seollne of Aristocracy In the Politics ol New Tork. 

By DixoH RiAH Fox, Ph.D. Price, $3.50. 

VOLUME LXXXVII. 1919. 451 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

[109] Foreign Trade of China. By Chohg Su See, Ph.D. Price. $1; 50. 

VOLUME LXXXVIII. 1919. 444 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00, 

1. [SOO] The Street Surface Rail-way Franchises of Hew York City. 

By Hakrv J. Carhan, Ph D. Piice, $3.00, 
a. [8011 Electric Light Franchises In New Tork City. 

By Leonora Arent, Ph.D. Price, fi.so. 

VOLUME LXXXIX. 1919. 568 pp. Price, cloth, $5.00. 

1. [203] Women's Wages. By Emilik J. Hutchinson, Ph.D. Price, «i 50. 

8. laoSi The Return of the Democratic Party to Power In 1884. 

By Harrison Cook Thomas, Ph.D. Price, t'"S- 
S. 18041 The Paris Bourse and French Finance. 

By William Parker, Ph.D. Price, $1.00. 

VOLUME XC. 1920. 547 pp. Price, cloth, $5.00. 

1. [805] Prison Methods In Ne-w Tork State. By Philip Klein, Ph.D. Price, $350. 
8. 1806 India's Demand for Transportation. 

By WiLUAM E. Wkld, Ph.D. Price, Ji.as. 

VOLUME XCI. 1920. 626 pp. Price, cloth, $6.00. 

!■ [807 I *The Influence of Oversea Expansion on England to 1700. 

By Jahbs E Gillespie, Ph.D. Price, Us oo. 
8. [80S] International L,aborX.eglslatIon. By I. F. Ayusawa, Ph.D. Price, {a.-/; 

VOLUME XCIL 1920. 4S8 pp. Price, cloth, $5.00. 

[8O0] TheFubllcLlfeof William Shirley. By George A. Wood, Ph.D. Price,f4.5o 

VOLUME XCIII. 1920. 460 pp. Price, cloth, $5.60. 

1. [8101 'The English Reform BUI of 1867. By Joseph H.Park, Ph.D. Price. I3.00. 
8. [811] The Policy of the United States as regards Intervention. 

By Charles £. Martin, Ph.D. Price, I2.00 



VOLUME XCIV. 1920-1921. 492 pp. Price, cloth, $5.50. 

1. [SIS 
8. [Slf 
3. [814 



!818] 'Catastrophe and Soda] Change. By S. H. Prince, Ph.D. Price, ^1.50. 

8181 Intermarriage In New Tork City. By Julius Drachsler, Ph.D. Price, jia.as. 
814] The Ratification of the Federal Constitution by the State of New 
Tork. By C. E. Miner, Ph.D. Price, n.50. 

VOLUME XCV. 1920-1921. 654 pp. Price, cloth, $6.00. 

I. [8151 'Railroad Capitalization. By James C. Bonbbight, Ph.D. Price,$2.oo. 

8. [816] 'American Apprenticeship and Industrial Education. 

By Paul H. Douglas, Ph.D. Price, #3.50. 

VOLUME XCVI. 1921. 639 pp. Price, cloth, $6.50. 

1. [817] 'Opening a Highway to the Pacific. 1888-1846. 

By James Christy Bell, Jr., Ph.D. Price, I2.25. 
8. [818] Parliamentary Franchise Reform In England from 1885 to 1918. 

By Homer L. Morris, Ph.D. Price, f 2.25. 
8. [819] The Peaceable Americans. 1860-61. 

By Mary Scrugham, Ph.D. Price, J1.50 

VOLUME XCVn. 1921. 762 pp. Price, cloth, $8.50. 

1. [8801 The Working Forces In Japanese Politics, 

By UicHi IwASAKi, Ph.D. Price, f 1.50. 
8. [881] Social Aspects of the Treatment of the Insane. 

By J. A. Goldberg. Ph.D. Price, $2.50. 

8. [888] The Free Negro In Maryland. By James M. Wright, Ph.D. Price, $4.00. 

VOLUME XCVIIL 1921. 338 pp. Price, cloth, $4.00. 

1 [8831 Origins of Modern German Colonialism, 1871-188S. 

i. i«*oj V B By Mary E. Townsend, Ph.D. Price, J2. 25. 

2 [8241 Japan's Financial Relations with the United States. 

«. l»«*j f ByG.G. ODATE,Ph.D. Price, $1.25. 

VOLUME XCIX. 1921-22. 649 pp. Price, cloth, $7.00. 

1 [885] 'The Economic History of China : A Study of Soil Exhaustion. 

By Mabel Pbhg-hua Lee, Ph.D. Price, 44.50. 
~ raoai nani:fn,i and Local Finance In China. By ChuanShih Li, Ph.D. Price, |2.oo. 



VOLXnUE C, 1921. 553 pp. Price, cloth, $6.00. 

1. [3371 *Contemporary British. Opinion during the Franco- PriiBBlBn War. 

By Dora Neili. Raymokd, Ph.D. Price, t+.so. 
3. [338] French Contemporary Opinion of the Russian Bevolntion of 1806. 

By Encarnacioh Alzoha, Ph.D. Price, Ji.zs. 

VOLUME 01. 1921-22. 517 pp. Price, cloth, $5.50. 

1. [339] State Taxation of Personal luoomes. 

Br Alzada Cohstock, Ph.D. Price, (2.50. 
3. 13301 The Whig Party In PennsyI'vanla. By Hbhkv R. Mu«llbr, Ph.D. Price,f2.75. 

VOLUME CII. 1922. 

1. [3311 The Evolution of People's Banks. By Donald S. Tucker, Ph.D. Price.fz.ys, 

VOLUME cm. 1922. 

1. 13331 The Relation of British Policy to the Declaration of the Monroe 
Doctrine. By Leonard Axel Lawsuh, Ph.D. Prio;, fisj. 

3. [334] Ledru-Bollln and the Second French Republic. 

By Alvin R. Calhah. {l» press). 

VOLUME CIV. 1922. 

1. [335] The Populist Movement In Georgia. 

By Albx Mathews Arnbtt, (Inpress)^^ 



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